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Guidelines to Name Availability

Preliminary Determinations of Availability

Requests for preliminary name availability checks can be made by calling (502) 564-3490 or by writing to the Office of the Secretary of State

Responses will be made by the same method as the request.

There is no charge for preliminary determinations.

Preliminary determinations, even when made in writing, are informational only and shall not be deemed a final determination for any purpose.

Final Determination of Availability

A final determination is made only upon submission of a document that will cause a new business entity name to be entered upon the records of the Secretary of State (e.g., articles of incorporation, articles of organization, assumed name filing, etc.)

The Secretary of State shall make all final determinations concerning name availability.

I. Standards for Available Names

General Rule: No business entity name shall be accepted for filing by the Secretary of State unless that name is available. A business entity name is available only if it is distinguishable upon the records of the Secretary of State from all other business entity names actively on file with the Secretary of State.

Specific Rules:

Entity Endings: Words and abbreviations that are required to identify the type of business entity are disregarded when considering name availability. Thus, names otherwise identical except for the presence of any of the following words or abbreviations shall not be considered distinguishable: "Corporation," "Company," "Incorporated," "Limited," "Co.," "Ltd.," "Corp.," "Inc.," "Limited Partnership," "Limited Liability Company," "Limited Company," "LLC," "LC," "Registered Limited Liability Partnership," "LLP," "Professional Service Corporation," "PSC," "PLLC," and "PLC."

Examples of non-distinguishable names: Business Machine Company, Business Machine Company, Inc., Business Machine Corporation, Business Machine LLC, Business Machine Limited Partnership

Articles: Articles of speech ("a," "an," or "the") are disregarded when considering name availability. Thus, names otherwise identical expect for the presence of the words "a," "an," or "the" shall not be considered distinguishable.

Examples of non-distinguishable names: Carpet Universe LLC, The Carpet Universe Corporation.

Conjunctions: Conjunctions are disregarded when considering name availability. A conjunction may be a word that joins together clauses, phrases or words (such as "and," "or," "as," "but," "because," "however") or a symbol for such a connecting word (such as +, /, &). Thus, names otherwise identical except for the presence of a connecting word or symbol shall not be considered distinguishable.

Examples of non-distinguishable names: Run and Gun Enterprises Company, Run & Gun Enterprises LLC, Run 'N Gun Enterprises LLP.

Plurals and Possessives:  The plurals and possessive forms of words are considered indistinguishable from the singular and non-possessive forms of words from which the plural or possessive were derived. Thus, names otherwise identical except for the presence of one or more plural or possessive forms of words shall not be considered distinguishable.

Examples: Hill Supermarket, Inc., Hills Supermarket Co., Hill's Supermarket LLC, Hills' Supermarket LLP.

Marks of Punctuation: Commas, periods, apostrophes, quotation marks, dashes, exclamation points, question marks, and all other marks of punctuation appearing in business entity names are disregarded when considering name availability. Thus, names otherwise identical expect for the presence of any punctuation marks shall not be considered distinguishable.

Examples: CD Corporation, C-D LLC, C & D LLC, CD's LLC, C.D., Inc.

Numbers Appearing Within Name: An Arabic numeral representing a number, a roman numeral representing the same number and a word representing the same number shall be treated as non-distinguishable when the number appears in the same position within otherwise identical names.

Examples: a. Two Guys with Hammers Co., 2 Guys with Hammers LTD; b. Ink Holdings, Inc. III, Ink Holdings LLC. #3; c. Mug Pub Co., Mug Pub #6.

Case:  No distinction is made as to upper and lower case letters. The upper and lower case of letters within a business entity name, as that name appears on any document filed with the Secretary of State, are disregarded when considering name availability. Thus, names otherwise identical except for difference in the use of upper and lower case shall not be considered distinguishable.

II. Name Requirements for Business Entities

A. Single Name

A business entity name cannot connote more than one name in its title.

No acronym/full name combinations: A business entity name may not consist of both an acronym and the words from which the acronym is derived. Examples of unacceptable names: B.G.S.C.F. - Bluegrass Society of Cat Fanciers.

No appositives: A business entity name may not contain phrases or additional names, used in conjunction with and set off from other names in the manner of an appositive. Example: Blue Haven Harvest Corp., A Bluegrass Eatery

B. Accepted Characters of Print

A business entity name may contain only the following types of letters, numbers, and other typographical figures and symbols:

Letters of the English alphabet, with no distinction made by the Secretary of State's Office as to upper case, lower case, typeface, or font.

Arabic numerals, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0.

Roman numeral characters, i.e., I, V., X, L, C, D, M.

Symbols capable of being reproduced and recorded by the Secretary of State's Office, its record-keeping computer hardware and software: ! @ # % > & * ( ) - + " ' : ; / ?

C. Requirements for Particular Entities

Business Corporations Names: The name of every business corporation must contain the word "Incorporated," "Corporation," "Limited," "Company," or the abbreviation "Inc.," "Corp.", "Ltd.," "Co." (or words or abbreviations of like import in another language).

Professional Service Corporation Names: The name of every professional service corporation must contain the words "Professional Service Corporation," or the abbreviation "P.S.C."

Nonstock/Nonprofit Corporation Names: The name of every nonstock/nonprofit corporation must contain the word "Corporation," "Incorporated," "Company," or the abbreviation "Inc." or "Co." Names of nonstock/nonprofit corporations may not contain the words "and company," "and co.," "& company," or "& co."

Limited Partnership Names: The names of every limited partnership organized or qualified to transact business under KRS ch. 362 must include the word "Limited," or the abbreviation "Ltd." The name of every limited partnership organized or qualified to transact business under KRS ch. 362.2 that is not a limited liability limited partnership shall include any of "Limited", "Ltd.", "L.P." or "LP". If a limited partnership is organized or qualified to transact business under KRS ch 362.2 and is a limited liability limited partnership, the name of the limited partnership shall include "Limited Liability Limited Partnership", "LLLP" or "L.L.L.P."

Limited Liability Company Names: The name of every limited liability company must contain the words "Limited Liability Company" or "Limited Company," or the abbreviations "LLC," or "LC." The word 'Limited may be abbreviated as "Ltd." and the word "company" may be abbreviated as "Co."

Professional Limited Liability Company Names: The name of every professional limited liability company must contain the words "Professional Limited Liability Company" or "Professional Limited Company," or the abbreviations "PLLC" or "PLC."

Registered Limited Liability Partnership Names: The name of every registered limited liability partnership either registered or qualified to transact business in Kentucky under KRS ch. 362 must contain “Registered Limited Liability Partnership” or “LLP” as the last words or letters in its name.The name of every limited liability partnership that has filed a statement of qualification or has qualified to transact business under KRS ch. 362.1 must end with “Registered Limited Liability Partnership”, “Limited Liability Partnership”, “R.L.L.P.”, “L.L.P.” or “LLP”.

Use of “Cooperative”:  No for-profit entity may use “Cooperative” as any part of its name unless that entity has complied with KRS §§ 272.020 to 272.050.

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