Oregon Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)
If you’re planning to start a business in the state, you’ll need to conduct a name search on the Oregon Business Registry or the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division to ensure that the name is available.
The business search page allows you to search by company name, individual name, registry number, etc.
All matching company names will be displayed in the search results, and if no records are found, you may register your business under the desired name.
Oregon search tips
Use the following tips to ensure you get the best results when conducting a name search:
- Capitalization is relevant during the search as the search is not case-sensitive, and all letters are treated as uppercase.
- Making use of a single keyword helps to broaden your search giving you the best results. Therefore, if you’re searching for a name with multiple words, try entering only the first one or two words of the name.
- You should not add spaces into the names that do not have them, nor should you add additional spaces to names that already have them.
- There is no need to enter the business entity type, such as LLC, Corp., CO, or Inc., as it is not considered in the search.
- There’s also no need to add words that don’t change the meaning of the name.
- Plurals are irrelevant in the search.
- Punctuation such as apostrophes, commas, and periods are also irrelevant during the search.
Business search by name
One of the most common search criteria to find a business is to search by name. Here’s how to conduct an Oregon business name search.
Search Methods (from the most restrictive one):
- Only exact words in exact word order
- Extended Search in any word order
- Exact words in exact word order but followed by anything else
- Sound-alike words in exact word order
- Sound-alike words in any word order
- Exact words in any word order
Refer to the Oregon Business Registry Database
Select the “Business Name Availability Check“ option as your search method. Enter one or more words into the search bar, marked as “Business Name, “ and click on the ”Search for Business Name” button.
Review the results
If the name is available to be registered under your new business in the state of Oregon, you will receive the following message, “the name you searched for appears to be available; however, Business Registry staff will make the final determination.”
If the name is already in use, the following message will display, “The following names may affect availability.”
Additionally, you’ll also have access to view business entities with either the same or a similar name. This is because the name search not only brings up the exact name that you are searching for but names that are very similar to the one you are searching for.
Therefore, even though the name may seem like it is available for use, it is ultimately the business Registry staff that decides whether or not the name can be registered.
Review detailed business information
You can click on the hyperlinked entity name or registry number for additional information about the specific entity from the search records.
Search by registry number
Another way to perform the business entity search is by registry number.
Refer to the Oregon Business Registry
Click on the search box marked “Registry Number“ and type the number. Click on the “Search for Business Name” button.
Review the results
Each business has its own registry number, so there’ll either be one or no search results. If the number doesn’t belong to an entity, you’ll get the following message “Registry number has wrong check digit.”
And if the number does belong to an entity, you’ll be taken directly to that entity’s business page.
Search for individual names
You can also search by individual names. Access the Business Registry Database from this link.
Refer to the Business Registry Database
Enter the names you’re looking up. First Name and Last Name are required fields, while Middle Name is optional.
Select whether you want to search for all associated name types or associated name types except Agent. Alternatively, you can select one of the associated name types below.
Click on the “Search for Associated Names” button.
Review the results
The search results will give you the same information about the business entity as the previous two search methods.
Click on the name of the business to access detailed information.
Oregon search results
The search results will give you access to detailed information on any business registered in the state, such as:
- Business name: The legal name of the business
- Entity type: Limited liability company, Corp, Co, Inc, nonprofit, partnership, etc
- Registration date: The date the business was registered with Oregon.gov.
- Principal address: The address where corporate records are held or the physical address of the organization.
- Registered agent’s information: Registered agents, also referred to as statutory agents, are the business’s points of contact with the state. Therefore, every business must have one and the individual’s contact information like their residential address and phone number.
Additionally, you will have access to the organization’s Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization if needed.
- ACT – Business is in good standing, and all necessary reports and filings are up to date.
- INA – Inactive
- IP – In Process
- NON – Nonfileable
- UNF – Unfiled
Copies of documents and certificates
In the event that you’d like to order certified copies of the business’s documents, you may do so via the Oregon Secretary of State Corporations Division.
Some of the most commonly requested documents include:
- Articles of amendment
- Articles of formation
- Certificate of authority
- Annual filings, like annual reports
- Dissolution and withdrawals
- A fictitious name or DBA registration
As mentioned earlier, the following certified business documents may only be ordered from the Oregon Secretary of State website. However, it’s also possible to obtain certified copies of these documents using the following contact details:
Oregon Secretary of State – Corporations Division
Public Service Building Suite 151, 255 Capitol St.NE
Salem, OR 97310
Business name availability
If you have a list of names that you’re considering registering a new business under, you can try each one. This will give you a better chance of finding an available name without going back to the drawing board.
In order for you to register a company name in the state, it must not be an active business or have up-to-date registration with the Oregon Secretary of State.
You may be able to use names that are registered with the state but are considered inactive businesses, names that are registered in other states with the same name, or names operating in the same state but are not yet registered.
Therefore, it’s advisable to note that the search records will not display every business entity using the name you are searching for. However, you should be aware that if the name is not actively registered in the state of Oregon, it’s available for you to register in the public record.
Additionally, when it comes to registering an available company name, the law requires that it must be “distinguishable upon the record.” What this basically means is that your organization name should not copy a name that’s already on file with the state. Therefore, either a word or even a letter is enough to tell one name apart from another in the database.
Ultimately, the name availability search will help determine whether you can or cannot register your business under that name.
Domain name availability
While it would be ideal for your business or entity name and domain name to match, it doesn’t necessarily need to. However, if you do manage to obtain a domain name that matches your company name exactly, then it will be much faster and easier for potential customers to find your business online.
Essentially, an entity name is used more for branding, identification, and legal purposes, whereas domain names are more of a digital address for your website. However, a domain name does provide visibility for your brand, and a good name will establish your business.
One of the best ways to check domain name availability is to use a professional service like namechk.com.
This professional website will filter domain names and also offer suggestions that could be a potentially good fit for your business. It will also make you aware of the various extensions that are available for your desired web domain name.
Fictitious business name search
Another important consideration is establishing a “doing business as” name. While a “doing business as” name or DBA, trade name, and fictitious name as it is referred to, does not create a new entity, legally, it’s still recognized as a powerful marketing tool.
So even though there is no requirement to establish a DBA name, it is recommended if you plan on conducting business under any other name aside from your business’s legal entity name.
Some benefits of registering a fictitious name are that it helps to establish your identity, simplify your company name, and separate business operations.
In order to register a DBA in Oregon, the fictitious name needs to be distinguishable from other businesses on file with the state. Start by doing a DBA name availability check on the Secretary of State’s website.
Thereafter, request the assumed business name registration forms, complete them, and have them sent back either online, by mail, or in-person to:
Public Service Building
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310
The filing fee for registering a DBA in Oregon is $50, and this needs to be sent in with your application.
How do I find my Oregon business registration number?
A business registration number may be found on the Secretary of State Corporations Division website after conducting a company name search. The business registration number is one of the details that will be displayed on the search results.
How do I trademark a name in Oregon?
You may trademark a business or organization name in the state of Oregon by filing a trademark application with the Secretary of State’s office. You should also note that there is a filing fee of $50, and submission can take anywhere between five to seven working days. Your trademark is effective once filed; however, it must be renewed every five years.
How do I file a name reservation in Oregon?
In order to file a name reservation in the state, you must contact the Oregon Secretary of State’s office to request a business name reservation form. Once you’ve completed the form and submitted the application, it can take anywhere between two to three business days to officially reserve your name.
How do I legally change my business name?
If you’d like to change your business’s name, you will need to follow a few steps, including researching the new company name, notifying the Secretary of State, changing business licenses and permits as well as notifying the IRS, etc.
How do I find out if a company name is available in Oregon?
The name availability check available on the Secretary of State’s website will help you confirm whether or not an existing or desired name is available to be registered in the state. You can use a number of different search criteria and filter the results to make sure the name isn’t already taken.
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