How to Look Up an LLC in Iowa? (A Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: February 25, 2024
Methodology
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If you are starting an LLC in Iowa and want to find out if your preferred LLC name is available or need to search for a specific company or service, you have to conduct an Iowa business name search.

With years of practice as a business consultant for limited liability companies across all states and thorough research, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you look up an LLC in Iowa.

I consulted with our lawyers and legal advisors to help us determine the most effective method to search for an Iowa LLC.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Iowa, visit the Secretary of State's website and use the business search tool.
  • In most cases, checking if the business name is trademarked helps avoid future complications and legal issues. 
  • A report published by World Intellectual Property Indicators shows that there has been a gradual rise in patent applications, with applications hitting over 10 million in 2022.
  • I often advise my clients to check the trademark status frequently to ensure protection against unauthorized use.


How Do I Look Up an LLC in Iowa?

A man looking up an LLC in Iowa

To look up an LLC in Iowa, you can use the search tool available on the state's official website. The platform contains a database of all businesses in the state.

The Iowa search option allows you to enter a partial name. The webpage will generate all business entities beginning with the same letters.

1. Use the Iowa Secretary of State Search Tool

Follow these steps:

  • Visit the Iowa Secretary of State website.
  • On the search bar, enter the business name or business number of the LLC you seek.
  • Click the "Search" button.
  • You'll be redirected to the results page, where you can check the details of the LLC.

Conducting an LLC ownership search in Iowa can be done by searching the business name or filing number.

a. Searching by Business Name

When searching for information about an Iowa LLC, you can search using the business name. This method lets you quickly locate relevant details about the company, such as its registration status, type, and business number.

"Before deciding on a name, conduct research to ensure it fits your business and can be easily discovered by prospective customers."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

b. Searching by Business Number

Another efficient way to gather information about an Iowa LLC is by using its business number. This unique identifier streamlines the search process, providing precise details related to the company's registration and ensuring accuracy and efficiency in obtaining the necessary information.

2. Send an Email

Emailing is a convenient option if you prefer written communication or have specific inquiries. This allows you to articulate your questions or concerns and receive detailed responses from the business service staff, ensuring you have a documented record of your communication.

Email the staff at sos@sos.iowa.gov.

3. Make A Phone Call

Alternatively, you can call the business service staff at 515-281-5204. This method ensures immediate assistance or can work for you if you prefer verbal communication.

The business service staff can assist you with inquiries, provide guidance, and address any concerns regarding the Iowa LLC.

4. Alternative Search Options

A woman using a white laptop on a table

In addition to the provided options, there might be alternative methods to search for information about an Iowa LLC:

  • Search by owner's name: If you have information about the business owner, you can explore searching using the owner's name. This method may provide additional details about the individual associated with the LLC and their contact information.
  • Use online business directories: Online business directories and platforms, such as Better Business Bureau, can offer an alternative means of obtaining information about the LLC [1]. According to the Better Business Bureau, their platform features over 5.4 million business listings, highlighting its extensive resource for researching company backgrounds and consumer feedback.
  • Visit local government offices: You may visit local government offices or the Secretary of State's office to conduct your search. This can be particularly useful if you require immediate access to official documents such as the LLC Articles of Organization, Annual Report, and any amendments filed or have complex inquiries that may be better addressed in person.
  • Perform online searches: Popular search engines like Google, Bing, or Ask.com can help you find information about the Iowa LLC.
  • Check business-focused platforms like LinkedIn: Most businesses often create profiles on LinkedIn with information about their operations.

Depending on the nature of the LLC, you may find relevant information using these search options. But if you need more certainty or help getting the data you want, contact professionals for assistance.

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

You can check if a business name is trademarked in Iowa by examining both federal and state databases.

Patent and trademark applications have been experiencing a gradual rise over the years. As reported by World Intellectual Property Indicators, 2022 alone saw 11.8 million trademark applications filed worldwide [2]. This shows just how important it is to do your due diligence before registering a trademark.

Here's how to perform a trademark search in Iowa:

1. Federal Trademark Check (Through the USPTO)

To ensure that a business is not federally trademarked, you can perform a search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.

All you have to do is key in the word in the search bar and click the search button. You can limit your search to "Expert" or "Basic."

The USPTO maintains a comprehensive database of federally registered trademarks. By searching here, you can determine if the business name or logo you are interested in is registered nationally.

2. Iowa Trademark Check (SOT Website)

You can check the Iowa Secretary of State's website for a more localized search for state-level trademark information.

To perform the search:

  • Navigate to the "Search Databases" tab.
  • Select "Trademark" from the drop-down menu.
  • You'll be redirected to the "Trademark Search" page to perform the search.
  • You can choose from the provided search options, which include "Trademark Name/Description," "Owner Name," and "Business Number."
  • Click the "Search" button to view the details.

The state database contains trademarks that are specific to Iowa. This is important because trademarks can exist at federal and state levels, and checking both ensures a more thorough search.

Performing an Iowa LLC search is essential for reasons such as the following: 

  • Confirming the existence of an Iowa LLC before engaging in any business transactions. 
  • The search allows you to validate important details such as the business name, registered address, and the names of key personnel associated with the company. 
  • An Iowa LLC search can help identify existing trademarks or trade names if you are considering using a particular business name or logo. 
  • Checking the status of an Iowa LLC confirms whether it is in good standing with the state authorities. 
  • An Iowa LLC search provides insights into the ownership structure and management of the company. 
  • Checking the legal history of an Iowa LLC can help you identify any ongoing or past legal disputes or litigations.

FAQs

How Do I Reserve a Business Name in Iowa?

You can reserve a business name in Iowa by filing a Name Reservation application with the Secretary of State. The name won't be available for use by other entities for 120 days.

How Often Should I Check the Status of an Iowa LLC?

It's advisable to check the status of an Iowa LLC regularly, especially if you are entering into business transactions with the company. Annual checks can help you stay informed about changes in the business's standing or structure.

What Is the Difference Between a Federal and State Trademark Search for an Iowa LLC?

A federal trademark search checks for registered trademarks at the national level, while a state trademark search specifically looks for trademarks registered within Iowa.


References:

  1. https://www.bbb.org/search
  2. https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo-pub-941-2023-en-world-intellectual-property-indicators-2023.pdf

 

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