How To Look Up An LLC in New York? (The Most Efficient Way)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: June 20, 2024
Methodology
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If you're interested in starting a business in New York, it's important to understand the process for looking up LLCs in the state to determine if your preferred entity name is available.

As a seasoned business expert for limited liability companies and after consulting LLC specialists based in New York, I'll share my insights on the ways you could look up a New York LLC.

I collaborated with our panel of legal consultants to provide all the pertinent information you need.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in New York, visit the state’s Division of Corporation website and use the business entity search tool.
  • You can search for limited liability companies online or contact the county courthouse to obtain legal documents.
  • According to the New York Department of State, searching a name's availability costs $5 per submission, underscoring efforts to support state business activities.
  • While helping my clients look up an LLC, I was easily able to view basic information about the LLC, such as the business name, entity type, status, registered agent, and filing history.


How Do I Look Up an LLC in New York?

A woman looking up an LLC in New York

To look up an LLC in New York, you can access the New York State Department of State's Division of Corporations business entity database.

You can also call the state's office or email them the right inquiry.

Here are the methods you can use to get more information about an LLC in New York:

1. Use the Secretary of State's Website

The New York State Department of State's Division of Corporations offers an online Business Entity Search tool, the primary method for LLC searches.

To search for an LLC:

  • Use the Business Name Search feature provided by the New York Department of State Division of Corporations.
  • Choose the type of search you wish to conduct: Entity Name, DOS ID, Assumed Name, or Assumed Name ID.
  • Enter the relevant information in the search field (e.g., the entity name or DOS ID).
  • Click on the search button to initiate the query.
  • Review the search results to find the entity you are looking for.
  • Click on the entity's name to access detailed information about it.

The primary methods for LLC searches include:

a. Entity Name

This option allows users to search for a business entity using its legal name. It helps find specific details about a company, such as its status, registered agent, and filing history.

b. DOS ID

The Department of State (DOS) Identification Number is a unique identifier assigned to each business entity. Searching by DOS ID is a direct way to find a specific entity's records [1]. According to the New York Department of State, the fee for searching the records for availability of a name is $5 per name submitted, highlighting the department's efforts to facilitate business operations within the state.

c. Assumed Name

Businesses often operate under a name different from their legal name, known as an "Assumed Name" or "DBA" (Doing Business As). This search option helps in finding information about such entities.

d. Assumed Name ID

Like the DOS ID, this is a unique identifier for businesses operating under an assumed name. It provides a direct way to access the records of entities using a DBA.

2. Call the State

Calling the Department of State Division of Corporations is one of the most direct methods when seeking information about an LLC in New York.

This approach is beneficial for obtaining quick responses to general inquiries or guidance on the LLC search process.

You can make the call through (518) 473-2492. The call center representatives are typically available Monday through Friday, from 8:45 am to 4:30 pm, except on legal holidays.

"The New York Division of Corporations staff can assist you with the New York Business Name Search, but they cannot ensure the availability of your LLC name at the time of filing."

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

3. Send an Email

Email communication offers a more detailed and documented approach to inquiries.

It is ideal for complex queries or when requesting specific documentation that may not be readily available online.

Email the office through corporations@dos.ny.gov. While email responses may not be as immediate as phone calls, they provide a written record of the communication and are typically thorough.

4. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

Apart from the official channels, there are other ways to gather information about an LLC in New York:

  • Many businesses maintain active social media profiles that can provide insights into their operations and reputation.
  • A simple Google search can sometimes yield surprising amounts of information about a business.
  • Websites like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau offer listings and reviews.
  • Leveraging your professional network can provide personal insights and experiences related to a specific LLC.
  • Local business communities often have records or knowledge about member businesses.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in New York?

Coworkers discussing at a laptop

In New York, checking whether a business name is already trademarked involves a multi-faceted approach, utilizing both federal and state resources.

Here are the options you can use to check if a Business name is trademarked in New York:

1. Start with the USPTO Database

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the primary federal resource for all trademark registrations in the United States.

Begin your search here to check if your desired business name, or a similar one, is federally registered.

The USPTO's online database offers free TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System).

This allows you to search an extensive database of registered trademarks and pending applications.

2. Check New York State's Records

After checking the federal database, the next step is to search New York State's trademark records. Trademarks can be registered at the state level for additional protection.

In New York, this is handled by the Miscellaneous Records Unit of the Department of State's Division of Corporations.

You can contact them at 518-473-6306 for more information.

Detailed trademark information and guidelines are also available on the New York Department of State's Business Express page.

3. Utilize the New York State Library

The New York State Library is a designated Patent and Trademark Resource Center and offers access to trademark search tools.

Their collection includes USAMark, which contains images of all US trademark registrations from 1870 to the present, and other resources like the Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office [2]. This extensive archive, as highlighted by the New York State Library, ensures public access to over 150 years of trademark history, reflecting the library's commitment to preserving and providing comprehensive patent and trademark information.

While the library staff can assist in formulating search strategies, they do not provide legal advice. For assistance, you can call 518-474-5355.

4. Consider Professional Assistance

Consider consulting with a trademark attorney or a professional search firm for a more comprehensive search and legal advice.

They can help interpret search results and guide your trademark application's viability.

A directory of attorneys and agents registered to practice before the USPTO is available on the USPTO's website.

Performing a detailed search is a critical step, serving as a legal safeguard and a strategic tool for carving out a unique space in a competitive market.

Below are pivotal reasons that underscore the importance of this search:

  • Ensuring the name isn't already in use or trademarked.
  • Understanding the competitive landscape.
  • Essential for mergers, acquisitions, or investments.
  • Knowing who you're doing business with.
  • Preventing legal disputes over name similarities.
  • Safeguarding your business reputation.
  • Gaining insights into a company's financial health.
  • For future business expansions or pivots.

Related Articles:

FAQs

How Do I Verify A Member Of A New York LLC?

To verify a member of a New York LLC, you can request a copy of the Articles of Organization with the New York Department of State. Once you have the document, go to the "Members" section and look up the legal name of an LLC member.

How Do You Find Out Who Owns A Business In New York?

If you want to find out who owns a business in New York, the best place to start is by looking up the business's LLC filing.

The LLC's filing will list the business names and addresses of the business's owners, as well as any other important information about the company.

Can I Access the Financial Details of a New York LLC Through a Lookup?

You cannot access the financial details of a New York LLC through a lookup since the information is not of public record.


References:

  1. https://dos.ny.gov/faqs-corporations-business-entities
  2. https://www.nysl.nysed.gov/reference/patents-nysl.htm

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.
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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.
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