How to Look up an LLC in Ohio? (A Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: April 25, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
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If you are considering starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Ohio, you should search for business entities to check the availability of your desired LLC name.

However, if you need to search for a specific business entity, service, or product, you can conveniently access the required information to determine if the entity matches your needs.

With over a decade of practice as a business consultant specializing in LLCs in various states, I conducted in-depth research to provide you with all the necessary information.

I collaborated with our legal advisors and lawyers to acquire accurate legal information regarding how you could look up an LLC name in Ohio.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Ohio, visit the Secretary of State's website, call or send an email to the state's office.
  • The Ohio Secretary of State site allows you to search by business name, entity number, registered agent, or incorporator.
  • According to the Ohio Secretary of State's guide, conducting the search is crucial as Ohio law mandates that new business names must be distinguishable from all previously registered names, preemptively avoiding over 95% of trademark conflicts.
  • My experience has demonstrated that conducting an LLC search in Ohio is essential for due diligence, understanding business history, and ensuring no other business operates under the same name.


How Do I Look Up an LLC in Ohio?

A woman looking up an LLC in Ohio

To look up an LLC in Ohio, the most effective way would be to conduct a business entity search by business name and access the information online.

You can also do this by making a direct call to the Ohio Secretary of State website or or sending them an email.

1. Use the Secretary of State's Website

The Ohio Secretary of State's website is a comprehensive resource for LLC searches, offering a variety of search options to cater to different needs.

You can search for business in Ohio by following these steps:

  1. Visit the Ohio Secretary of State website.
  2. On the homepage, click on the "Business Entity Search" or "Business Search" link.
  3. Select the type of search you want to perfom and click the search button.
  4. If there are results, they will be displayed below.
  5. Select the "View Details" link to access more information about a specific LLC.
  6. On the detail page, you will find details such as the LLC's filing date, registered agent, and principal office address.
  7. Additionally, you can view filed documents from the Secretary of State's office.

This versatility makes it an invaluable tool for anyone looking to gather detailed information about an LLC in Ohio.

"For more extensive search outcomes, utilize wildcards such as the underscore and percent signs."

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

Other methods include:

a. Business Name Search

  • Exact Business Name: Enter the exact name of the LLC to find specific information about it, including its legal status and operational history.
  • Prior Business Name: This option allows you to search for LLCs that may have changed their names, providing a historical perspective on the business.

b. Agent/Registrant

Searching by the name of the agent or registrant provides information about the individual or entity authorized to receive legal documents on behalf of the LLC.

This search can reveal connections between different businesses and their representatives.

c. Organizer/Incorporator

This search option focuses on the individuals who played a role in forming the LLC.

It's particularly useful for understanding the origins and foundational structure of the business.

d. Entity Number

Each LLC in Ohio is assigned a unique entity number [1]. According to the General Services Administration (GSA), this system ensures that over 1.9 million entities registered with the federal government can be uniquely identified, streamlining processes and reducing errors in entity identification.

A search by this number brings up precise and specific information about the LLC, ensuring accuracy in identification.

2. Call the State

Direct communication with the Ohio Secretary of State's office can be invaluable.

By calling 1-877-767-6446, you can obtain assistance, ask specific questions, and even request detailed information not readily available online.

3. Send an Email

For detailed inquiries or to request specific documentation, sending an email to help@ohiosos.gov can be a convenient option.

This method is particularly useful for formal requests or when seeking official documentation.

4. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

Magnifying glass icon search box

There are other unofficial ways to search for an LLC, including:

a. Social Media Platforms

Many businesses maintain profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, which can provide current information and insights into the company's activities.

b. Search Engines

A simple Google search can sometimes reveal information about an LLC, including news articles, reviews, and official websites.

c. Business Directories

Websites like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau offer listings and reviews of businesses, including LLCs.

d. Local Chamber of Commerce

Local chambers often have records of registered businesses in the area.

e. Industry-Specific Databases

Depending on the LLC's industry, there may be specialized databases with relevant information.

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

Trademark showing on the screen

There are two primary ways to check if a business name is trademarked in Ohio:

1. State Trademark Check via Ohio Secretary of State's Website

Visit the Ohio Secretary of State's trademark search page to conduct a detailed search for state-level trademarks.

This tool offers several search options:

  • Mark Number Search: If you have a specific mark number, this option allows for a direct lookup.
  • Mark Description: Use this feature to search for trademarks by their description, which can be useful if you're considering similar names or logos.
  • Registrant Name: If you know the name of a registrant, this search can reveal all trademarks registered under that name, providing insights into existing trademarks that might be similar to your desired business name [2]. According to the Ohio Secretary of State's guide to name availability, this method is crucial as Ohio law mandates that new business names must be distinguishable from all previously registered names, ensuring that over 95% of trademark conflicts are preemptively avoided through this search process.

2. Federal Trademark Check via the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

For a broader search that includes federal trademarks, visit the USPTO's website. This search is crucial as it covers trademarks registered at the national level, which could impact your business name's viability in Ohio and beyond.

Making name in LLC distinguishable

Conducting a search for an LLC in Ohio is not just a procedural step; it's a critical part of due diligence and strategic planning.

Here are the key reasons to perform an LLC search:

  • Confirm the legal status of an LLC.
  • Ensure no other business operates under the same name.
  • Understand the history and operations of a business.
  • Evaluate the trustworthiness of a business partner.
  • Ensure adherence to state business regulations.
  • Analyze competitors and market presence.
  • Investigate a business before finalizing deals or partnerships.
  • Research potential investment opportunities thoroughly.

Related Articles:

FAQs

How Do You Look Up Who Owns LLCs In Ohio?

To look up who owns an LLC in Ohio, search the company records of the Ohio Secretary of State. These data are available online and include information on the owners and officials of LLCs registered in the state.

How Do I Find My Ohio LLC Entity ID?

To find your Ohio LLC entity ID, visit the Ohio Secretary of State website. From there, you can either use the online search or request a copy of the records.


References:

  1. https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/organization/federal-acquisition-service/technology-transformation-services/integrated-award-environment-iae/iae-systems-information-kit/unique-entity-identifier-update
  2. https://www.ohiosos.gov/businesses/information-on-starting-and-maintaining-a-business/guide-to-name-availability/

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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