How to Look Up an LLC in Alabama? (Most Effective Method)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 20, 2024
Methodology
We meticulously research and verify the information presented in our articles. By consulting reliable sources and ensuring factual accuracy, we are committed to providing readers with well-informed, trustworthy content.

Whether you are planning to establish a limited liability company or you simply need to search for one, conduct an Alabama business entity name search.

As a legal advisor and business consultant with over a decade of practice, I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to search for an Alabama LLC through the AL Secretary of State website, as well as other options.

The article is backed with legal information, personal experience, and in-depth research.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Alabama, you can search by business name, entity number, agent, officer, or incorporator, reservation ID, or visit the county courthouse.
  • For more detailed inquiries or to submit documents, contacting the Alabama Secretary of State's office via phone or email is recommended.
  • Use platforms like the Better Business Bureau, which offers information on over 5.4 million businesses, for researching a company's background.
  • From my point of view, the option to search by agent, officer, or incorporator is particularly useful for uncovering the broader network and affiliations of an LLC in Alabama.


How to Search an LLC in Alabama?

A person calling someone on the phone while using a laptop and looking up an llc in alabama

To search for an LLC in Alabama, you can simply search the business name on the Alabama Secretary of State's official website [1].

1. Use the Alabama Secretary of State Search Tool

The Alabama Secretary of State provides an online search tool that can be used to find information about LLCs registered in the state. You can access this tool by visiting the official website of the Alabama Secretary of State.

a. Name Search

Go to the Business Entity Search section on the Alabama Secretary of State website and select the option to search by "Entity Name."

Enter the name of the LLC you are searching for in the search box. You can enter a partial name to get a list of entities with similar names.

Finally, click on the search button to view the results. The results will display a list of entities matching the search criteria, including their entity number, status, and formation date.

b. Entity Number

If you know the specific entity number of the LLC, you can select the option to search by "Entity ID" instead. Enter the entity number in the search box and click on the search button.

The result will directly display the information for the LLC associated with that entity number.

c. Search By Agent, Officer or Incorporator

To finish this Alabama business search, visit the official website and click on ‘search by agent, officer, or incorporator’. Type in the name of the authorized individual, as well as the place of formation, and press enter.

You will be directed to a new page containing information regarding all LLCs under the individual’s name.

d. Search By Reservation ID

To look up a reserved Alabama business entity name, visit the site and choose the ‘by reservation ID’ option. Input the code in the box and click search.

You can view the entity type, place of formation, reservation status, and the name of the person who filed the document.

2. Call the State

For direct inquiries or specific questions that the online search tool cannot answer, calling the Alabama Secretary of State's office is a good option. You can reach the business division at 334-242-5324.

This method becomes increasingly relevant considering the subtle yet significant 0.5% change in new business applications filed from December 2022 to December 2023, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, reflecting the evolving business landscape [2].

I remember when I had a specific question that the online search tool couldn't answer. Picking up the phone and calling the Alabama Secretary of State's office was a game-changer. The staff was helpful and provided the information I needed in just a few minutes.

3. Send an Email

If you prefer written communication or need to send documents, emailing the Secretary of State's office can be a convenient option. You can reach the director of the business division at Elaine.Swearengin@sos.alabama.gov.

Emailing the Secretary of State's office was my go-to method when I needed to send documents for my LLC search. It was convenient, and the response time was surprisingly quick.

4. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

Here are some alternative approaches to looking up an LLC:

  • Use online business directories: Platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) offer a wealth of information on over 5.4 million businesses. These directories can be invaluable for researching a company's background, understanding its reputation, and reading consumer feedback. In Alabama, the substantial presence of small businesses—totaling 422,586 and constituting 99.4% of all state businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration—highlights the critical importance of thorough research for obtaining comprehensive insights [3].
  • Visit Local Government Offices: For direct access to official documents such as the LLC's Articles of Organization, Annual Reports, and any amendments, visiting local government offices or the Secretary of State's office can be particularly beneficial.
  • Conduct Online Searches: Employing search engines like Google, Bing, or Ask.com can lead to discovering information about the LLC. These searches can uncover news articles, official websites, and other public records related to the business.
  • Check Business-Focused Platforms like LinkedIn: Many businesses maintain profiles on LinkedIn, detailing their operations, history, and key personnel. This can be a useful resource for understanding the professional background and network of the LLC.
  • Visit the County Courthouse: To obtain records of all registered companies in a specific county, visit the county courthouse. The courthouse maintains a comprehensive archive of business registrations and filings, offering another layer of detail about the LLC.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in Alabama?

Checking if a business name is trademarked involves a two-step process: conducting a federal trademark search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and performing a state trademark check through the relevant State Trademark Office (SOT) website [4].

Here's how to do both:

Federal Trademark Check (Through the USPTO)

  1. Visit the USPTO Website: Start by going to the official website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  2. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS): The USPTO provides a free search tool called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). This tool allows you to search the USPTO's database of registered trademarks and prior pending applications to find marks that could prevent registration due to a likelihood of confusion.
  3. Conduct Your Search: You can search by the business name or relevant keywords. It's important to try different variations of the name to ensure a comprehensive search.
  4. Review the Results: The search results will provide a list of trademarks that match or are similar to the business name you searched for. Review the results to determine if the business name is already trademarked.
  5. Understand the Status Codes: Pay attention to the status codes in the search results. An active registration or application might indicate that the name is trademarked, while an abandoned or expired status might mean it's available.

State Trademark Check (SOT Website)

  1. Identify Your State's Trademark Office: Each state has its own trademark registry, typically managed by the Secretary of State's office or a similar entity. You'll need to find the website for your specific state's trademark office.
  2. Access the State's Trademark Search Tool: Most state trademark offices provide an online search tool similar to the USPTO's TESS. Access this tool on the state's website.
  3. Perform a Search: Enter the business name you're interested in to see if there's a state-level trademark. Like with the federal search, try various spellings and iterations of the name.
  4. Analyze the Results: Review any trademarks that come up in your search to see if they're similar or identical to the business name you want to use. Pay attention to the trademark's status, as it will indicate whether the mark is active.
  5. Consider Professional Advice: If you find a trademark that's similar or identical to your desired business name, it might be wise to consult with a trademark attorney. They can provide guidance on the likelihood of confusion, the strength of the trademark claim, and whether your intended use might infringe on someone else's trademark rights.
A person looking at office paperwork

Performing a search to check if a business name is trademarked is crucial for several reasons:

  • Avoid Legal Issues: Ensures that the business name or logo you plan to use doesn't infringe on existing trademarks, potentially saving you from costly legal disputes and the need to rebrand.
  • Brand Protection: Identifying and registering your own trademark protects your brand identity from being used by others, securing your brand's reputation and market position.
  • Market Research: Provides insight into similar business names or industries, which can be valuable for market research and strategic planning.
  • Domain Availability: Before securing a domain name for your business, it's important to ensure that the name doesn't infringe on existing trademarks to avoid future conflicts.
  • Investor Confidence: Demonstrates due diligence to potential investors or partners by showing that you've taken steps to legally protect your brand and ensure its uniqueness.
  • Avoid Rebranding Costs: Identifying potential trademark issues early can save the significant costs and efforts associated with rebranding if trademark infringement is discovered later.
  • Compliance with Platforms: Many e-commerce and social media platforms require that businesses do not infringe on trademarks, and performing a search can help ensure compliance and avoid account suspensions.

"Non-compliance with the regulations of Alabama's business environment can lead to penalties reaching $10,000 or imprisonment for a duration of up to five years. Distinct violations pertaining to Alabama's LLC guidelines could incite civil penalties up to $5,000 per occurrence.'"

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

Related Articles:

FAQs

What's the Purpose of Looking Up an Alabama LLC?

The purpose of looking up an Alabama LLC is to find an available name if you are considering starting your enterprise, or you may be looking for a specific entity, product or service to conduct business with.

I'm an SME. How Do I Name My Alabama LLC?

As an SME, you can name your Alabama LLC by searching for and reserving an available title and incorporating LLC or limited liability company.

How Do I Reserve an LLC Name in Alabama?

To reserve an LLC name in Alabama, you must sign a certificate of reservation before registering. Mail or e-mail a reservation to the Alabama Secretary of State. This should be accomplished as early as you can before forming the LLC.

How Long Does an Alabama LLC Name Reservation Last?

An Alabama name reservation will last a year after filing before it expires and is made available to the public. If the name has not been taken, you may file for a reservation using the same title for your business.


References:

  1. https://www.sos.alabama.gov
  2. https://www.uschamber.com/small-business/new-business-applications-a-state-by-state-view?state=al
  3. https://advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/2023-Small-Business-Economic-Profile-AL.pdf
  4. https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/inventors-entrepreneurs/alabama

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
Learn more about our editorial policy

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *