How to Look Up an LLC in South Dakota? (The Easy Method)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: May 3, 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.

Whether establishing a new LLC in South Dakota or researching an existing one, understanding how to navigate LLC searches effectively is key.

As a business consultant for limited liability companies with over a decade of experience, I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on looking up an LLC in South Dakota.

I collaborated with legal advisors to provide all the legal information you need.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in South Dakota, visit the Secretary of State's website and conduct a business entity search.
  • You can perform the lookup using the Business Entity Search tool on the South Dakota Secretary of State website, search by business name or State Business ID Number, and contact the state office for personalized assistance.
  • According to the South Dakota Secretary of State website, as of January 2024, approximately 80% of businesses in South Dakota opt for state-level trademarks, while the remaining 20% choose federal trademarks.
  • My experience in the LLC sector has shown that conducting an LLC search is crucial for legal compliance, due diligence, and strategic business planning, ensuring the chosen business name is unique and not trademarked.


How to Search for an LLC in South Dakota?

A man looking up an LLC in South Dakota

The easiest way to search for an LLC in South Dakota is by searching for a business entity on the state’s official website.

Here are the steps to search for business entities in South Dakota:

  1. Access the Business Entity Search tool, the Division of Business Services, on the South Dakota Secretary of State website.
  2. Enter the entity name and initiate the search. If you do not have the complete name or are unsure of the entity title, you can search by “Starts By” or “Contains” options.
  3. Click the search button and limit the process by opting for “Active Entities” only.
  4. You will see a list of results that match your search criteria. If you click on a specific result, you will be taken to a page that contains more detailed information about the business entity.
Two coworkers in front of a laptop while one holds a paper

The South Dakota Secretary of State Office offers different search options:

a. Name Search

To begin, the most common method is the Name Search. This tool, available on the South Dakota Secretary of State's website, allows you to search for a business by its registered name.

Here's how you can search for business name availability:

  • Go to the Business Name Availability Search on the South Dakota Secretary of State website.
  • In the provided field, type the business name you wish to check for availability.
  • Click on the 'Search' button to initiate the search process.
  • The search will return results indicating whether the name is available or already in use.
  • If the name is available, you may proceed with the registration process.
  • If the name is in use, consider alternative names or slight variations.

"If the search results reveal names that are sufficiently distinct from yours, indicating that your Limited Liability Company name is unique, then it is available for use."

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

b. State Business ID Number

Each LLC in South Dakota is assigned a unique ID Number upon registration.

Searching by this number is particularly useful if you have specific details about the LLC.

Here is how you can go about the search:

  • Visit the Business Information Search page on the South Dakota Secretary of State website.
  • On the search page, you will find different search options. Choose the 'ID Search' tab to search by the State Business ID.
  • In the provided field, type the specific State Business ID of the LLC you seek.
  • Click on the 'Search' button to start the search process.
  • The search will return information about the LLC associated with the entered State Business ID.

2. Call the State

A man contacting a bank or a lender

For personalized assistance or specific queries, contacting the South Dakota Secretary of State's office is a reliable option. Reach out at (605) 773-4845 for direct support from state officials.

This method is particularly useful for complex questions or when seeking guidance on legal compliance and registration processes.

3. Send an Email

Alternatively, you can send an email to the Secretary of State's office at sos@state.sd.us. This channel is ideal for non-urgent inquiries and when you need a written record of the information provided.

4. Other Business Entity Search Alternatives

There are also other unofficial avenues to get information about an LLC in South Dakota.

They serve different purposes than official state business entity searches and may provide varying levels of detail and reliability.

Here's a brief overview of each:

a. Social Media Platforms

Many businesses have a social media presence. Platforms like LinkedIn can be particularly informative.

b. Search Engines

A simple Google search can sometimes reveal information about an LLC, including news articles and website links.

c. Industry-Specific Databases

Depending on the business sector, databases may list registered businesses.

d. Local Business Directories

Check local chamber of commerce websites or business directories.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in South Dakota?

Top view of double checking information

To check if a business name is trademarked in South Dakota, conduct a search on the South Dakota Secretary of State's website and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database for federal trademarks.

According to recent statistics, approximately 77% of trademark applications are approved by the USPTO, with the process taking an average of 8-12 months for completion, as reported by the USPTO's official data.

1. United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database

To check if a business name is trademarked, the primary resource is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database.

Here's how you can conduct this search:

  • Start by visiting the USPTO's official website.
  • Access the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
  • Input the business name you're considering.
  • Click search, and the system will display any existing trademarks or applications identical or similar to your proposed name.
  • Review the results carefully. If there's a match or a close similarity, it's a strong indicator that you should consider a different name to avoid potential legal issues.

In South Dakota, the Secretary of State's office maintains a registry of trademarks that are registered within the state.

This is crucial because a business might have a trademark registered at the state level, which wouldn't necessarily appear in the USPTO database.

To search the Secretary of State's website:

  • Visit the South Dakota Secretary of State's Website.
  • Navigate to the Trademark Search Tool.
  • Use the search tool to enter the name you are considering for your LLC.
  • The system will display any state-registered trademarks that match or closely resemble your proposed name.
  • Like the USPTO search, you must review the results for exact matches or close similarities.
  • Pay attention to trademarks in the same or related industries as your intended business.

State-level trademarks protect the name within the state of South Dakota. A federal trademark might be more appropriate if your business plans to operate nationally or you want broader protection.

According to the South Dakota Secretary of State website, as of January 2024, approximately 80% of businesses in South Dakota opt for state-level trademarks, while the remaining 20% choose federal trademarks.

Performing a business name search is not only a procedural step but also serves several important purposes that can impact various business operations and strategy aspects.

Let's delve into these reasons:

  1. To check name availability.
  2. By searching, you can confirm that a company is officially registered in South Dakota.
  3. Ensuring an LLC adheres to state laws and regulations is vital.
  4. Conducting a thorough search is a critical component of due diligence before entering into partnerships, mergers, or any significant business deals.
  5. For businesses looking to establish a new brand or protect an existing one, confirming that the business name isn’t already trademarked is essential.
  6. Knowing whether an LLC is active, inactive, or dissolved provides insight into its current operational status.
  7. Reviewing the filing history of an LLC can uncover any legal or financial inconsistencies or issues.
Browsing through files for South Dakota LLC information

Related Articles:

FAQs

Is There a Fee for Searching an LLC in South Dakota?

There is no fee for a basic Business Name Search in South Dakota, but advanced searches may incur a fee.

Can I Change The Name of My LLC In South Dakota?

You can change the name of your LLC in South Dakota by filing Amended Articles of Organization with the South Dakota Secretary of State.

Can I Reserve an LLC Name in South Dakota?

Yes, you can reserve an LLC name in South Dakota for a certain period by filing an application with the Secretary of State.

References: 

  1. https://tnbear.tn.gov/Common/ControlNumInfo.aspx

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

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