How To Look Up An LLC In Illinois? (A Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
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.

Navigating the process of finding information on an LLC in Illinois is crucial for anyone looking to establish a new Illinois business or gather details on an existing entity.

Drawing on my extensive background as a business consultant with a specialization in LLCs, I've spent over a decade aiding clients through the intricacies of LLC formation in Illinois.

This guide is the product of thorough research and collaboration with our team of legal experts. It's designed to simplify your search for business names, providing step-by-step guidance and valuable insights to efficiently access the information you require about any LLC registered in Illinois.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Illinois, utilize the Secretary of State's website and company naming services, complete a trademark search, or browse social media platforms.
  • The Illinois Secretary of State's website offers multiple search options to facilitate a comprehensive LLC search, including by business name, registered agent, file number, or keyword.
  • Given that small businesses represent 99.6% of all businesses in Illinois, as reported by the US Small Business Administration, ensuring your LLC stands out with a unique name in this crowded field is more important than ever.
  • From my viewpoint, ensuring the uniqueness and legal clearance of an LLC name through diligent search and trademark checks is essential for establishing a strong, legally sound brand identity in Illinois.


How to Search an LLC in Illinois?

A woman doing an Illinois LLC name availability search

To search for an LLC in Illinois, it's crucial to utilize various resources to ensure a comprehensive search.

Illinois offers multiple avenues for conducting this search, primarily through the Secretary of State's website. This serves as the primary database for business entity searches.

With entrepreneurship booming, evidenced by over 5 million business applications in 2022, it's crucial to check both federal and state databases for comprehensive coverage, especially if operating in Illinois [1].

You can also look up an LLC by calling the State's office or emailing them the correct inquiries.

Here are the methods to use when looking up an LLC in Illinois:

1. Use the Secretary of State's Website

The Illinois Secretary of State's website is the go-to resource for searching business entities, including LLCs.

Here are the steps to searching for an LLC using the Illinois Secretary of State's website:

  • Go to the Illinois Secretary of State's business entity search page.
  • Choose the type of search you want to conduct. You can search by Business Name, Registered Agent, File Number, or use a Keyword.
  • Enter the search criteria in the provided field. If you're searching by business name, for example, type in the full or partial name of the LLC you're looking for.
  • If the platform allows for advanced search options, such as searching by positions (President, Secretary, Manager) or using a partial word, select these options as needed to refine your search.
  • Review the search results. The website will display a list of entities that match your search criteria, including their file number, entity name, type, and status.
  • Click on the name of the entity you're interested in to view more detailed information.

This platform allows for multiple search options:

a. Business Name

This option is the most straightforward way to find a business entity.

You can enter the full or partial name of the business you seek.

The search results will list all entities that match or closely resemble the entered name, allowing you to review each entity's status, registration details, and other public information.

It's particularly useful for determining the availability of a business name for new registrations.

b. Registered Agent

Searching by the registered agent's name effectively finds all businesses associated with a particular agent.

This search can reveal the breadth of an agent's representation and is useful for legal professionals and businesses looking for information on their competitors' agents.

c. File Number

The file number is a unique identifier assigned to each business entity by the Secretary of State.

Searching by this number yields the most direct and specific information about a business, including its filing history, current status, and detailed entity information.

This method is highly accurate if you have specific documentation or references to a business entity.

d. Keyword

Keyword searches allow for a broader exploration of the business registry, which is useful for identifying companies within certain industries, locations, or with specific attributes in their names.

This method can help uncover trends, competitors, or potential partners by revealing a list of businesses with common keywords in their names or descriptions.

e. By Positions

  • President: Identifies companies by searching for individuals holding the president position. This can provide insights into the leadership of various companies and is useful for networking, competitive analysis, or research purposes.
  • Secretary: Searches based on the secretary's name can reveal the administrative backbone of companies, showing which entities share common secretarial support and potentially indicating corporate affiliations or networks.
  • Manager: This search uncovers businesses associated with specific managers, offering a window into the management structures of various entities and how certain individuals are connected across the business landscape.

f. Partial Word

Partial word searches are particularly useful when the exact spelling of a business name is unknown or when trying to identify entities with similar names.

This approach can broaden the search results, providing a wider array of businesses that might meet the searcher's criteria. It is especially helpful for uncovering businesses with complex or commonly misspelled names.

2. Call the State

A person writing while calling someone

Direct communication with the state's business services department can provide assistance and specific information regarding LLC searches.

To reach the State's office, call 800-252-8980 toll-free in Illinois or 217-785-3000 outside the state.

3. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

For a broader search, consider these alternatives:

  1. Company Naming Services: Online services that check the availability and registerability of business names.
  2. Trademark Searches: Ensure the name isn't already trademarked in Illinois or federally.
  3. Social Media Platforms: A way to find active businesses and gauge their public presence.
  4. Search Engines: General searches can reveal business activities, news, and public records.
  5. Domain Name Searches: Ensuring the desired business name is available as a web domain.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in Illinois

Trademark showing on the screen

To check if a business name is trademarked in Illinois, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Free Search Tool or Illinois Secretary of State's Trademark Online Database.

In Fiscal Year 2021, the median loss for copyright and trademark offenses was reported at $229,302, with most offenders having little to no prior criminal history [2].

The average sentence for these offenses was 10 months, highlighting the legal system's response to intellectual property violations.

"It is imperative for entrepreneurs and businesses in Illinois to verify the trademark status of their business name to circumvent legal complications and guarantee the distinctiveness of their brand."

-Jon Morgan, Co-Editor & Co-Founder of Venture Smarter

Here's an expanded guide on how to conduct a thorough trademark search:

1. Illinois Secretary of State's Trademark Online Database

The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a database of registered trademarks and service marks within the state.

This resource is essential for identifying trademarks that may conflict with your desired business name within Illinois.

To use the database:

  • Visit the Illinois Secretary of State's official website and navigate to the Business Services section.
  • Look for the Trademark or Service Mark search function.
  • Enter the name you wish to check for trademark status. You can search by mark name, owner name, or registration number.
  • Review the search results for any matches or similar names that could pose a conflict with your intended business name.

2. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Free Search Tool

The USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) offers a comprehensive database of federally registered trademarks.

This search is vital for understanding if your business or a similar name is trademarked nationally.

To use TESS:

  • Access TESS via the USPTO's official website.
  • To input your proposed business name or keywords, utilize various search options, including basic and advanced searches.
  • Analyze the search results for identical or similar trademarks that could conflict with your business name, paying attention to the goods and services listed under each trademark to assess relevance.

3. Consider Hiring a Professional

Trademark attorneys or professional search firms can provide a thorough search and legal advice, especially for complex cases or when you plan to do business across state lines or internationally.

4. Check Domain Availability

The domain name might be taken even if a business name isn't trademarked. Checking domain availability is also a crucial step in the branding process.

5. Review Social Media and Online Presence

A quick search on major social media platforms and the internet can reveal if your desired business name is in use in a non-registered context.

This could still impact your branding and marketing efforts.

You can perform a search to:

  • Ensure the desired LLC name is available for use.
  • Avoid legal issues by ensuring the name isn't trademarked.
  • Gather information about competitors in the market.
  • Verify the status and legitimacy of potential business partners.
  • Obtain contact information for networking or sales purposes.
  • Check the history of legal disputes or compliance issues.
  • Understand the business scope and activities of an LLC.
  • Assess a business's financial health and stability before investing or engaging in transactions.

FAQs

How Do I Reserve A Business Name In Illinois?

You can reserve a business name in Illinois by downloading the online application form and mailing the required documents to the Office of the Secretary of State. Put a $25 filing fee within.

Are Articles Of Organization Public Record In Illinois?

Yes, articles of organization are public records in Illinois. The document can be found on the official site under online services and business entity search.

How Do I Look Up An EIN Number In Illinois?

You can look up an EIN  in Illinois by visiting the IRS website. Simply type in your search query, and you will be given a list of results that match the criteria entered into the system. You can also contact them via phone.


References:

  1. https://www.uschamber.com/small-business/new-business-applications-a-state-by-state-view
  2. https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/quick-facts/Copyright_FY21.pdf

About The Author

Author
Delina Chantel Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte and PwC, managing billion-dollar transactions. Educated in Accountancy at California State University and holding advanced degrees from Loyola Law School, she is highly skilled in tax law. Delina also dedicates time to pro bono work for women and children.
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 *