The Business Inquiries allow users to search and retrieve data and images maintained in the Business Database. The Business Database is a collection of files that records business filings submitted to, and approved by the Ohio Secretary of State. The database maintains records For Profit Corporations, Non-Profit Corporations, Professional Associations, Foreign Corporations, Foreign Name Registrations, Business Trusts, Real Estate Trusts, Fictitious Names, Trade Names, Limited Liability Companies,Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, Trademarks, Service Marks, and Name Reservations. These filings are recorded and maintained in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code.
All business filings were manually maintained prior to 1973. The office then began entering new filings into a computerized system. Data for businesses that were formed prior to 1973 was entered into the computerized system if they were still active at that time. The data for businesses that were not active in 1973 and have not reinstated, has been partially entered into the system.
Images of approved filings were maintained on microfilm prior to 1997 when office began converting the film for all active businesses to a computerized format. Newly submitted filings since that time have been created and maintained in this computerized format.
All specific Business Inquiries have help screens to assist you with your searching efforts.
Images of approved filings are available for on-line viewing. They can be viewed from all reports that display a document ID by clicking on the document ID 'link'. Search the on-line inquiries to find the exact Business that interests you, then click on each document link to have the associated image displayed. Images are displayed in PDF format.
(Click here for free download of Adobe Acrobat PDF Viewer.)
You can choose to download an image to your PC by right clicking on the document link, choosing 'Save Target As' from the shortcut menu and selecting the directory where you want to save the image.Images that have not yet been added to our database can be obtained by contacting the Ohio Secretary of State toll free at 1-877-SOS-FILE or by sending an e-mail request to BUSSERV@SOS.STATE.OH.US.
The web browser software that you are using may not be equipped to view these images. Download the free Google Chrome browser (Click here for free download of Google Chrome) If you cannot view images from your current browser.
Please e-mail all comments and questions to BUSSERV@SOS.STATE.OH.US
Please call customer service toll free at 1-877-SOS-FILE if you require immediate assistance.
Data and images provided in searches are for informational purposes only. Any certification of authenticity of this information must be provided by the office of the Ohio Secretary of State. The names provided for Business Name searches are only names that have been accepted by the office of the Ohio Secretary of State. These will not include names that may be in process. Filings that are in process are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Request for a specific name is NOT guaranteed until you have received approval in writing from the office of the Ohio Secretary of State that your request has been approved.
Revised September 6th, 2017
This informational guide has been created to assist you in your business name search efforts on the Secretary of State's Corporations (Business Entity) database. The entity names used as examples are not necessarily in our records, but used only as possible search terms or results.Formatting and Indexing
The following rules are applied when the names are stored. When searching the database, you should keep these rules in mind and use them as a guideline(s) for your search criteria.
- Remove all occurrences of double quotes ("), commas (,), pound signs (#), Parentheses (()), and periods (.).
- Remove any hyphens (-) and concatenate (world-wide becomes worldwide).
- Remove "the" when it is the first word.
- Consecutive single characters followed by a space, or punctuation are concatenated into one word and should be searched that way (G.P.R. FOUNDATION becomes GPR FOUNDATION)
- Two (2) or more characters preceded or followed by a period, the period will be replaced with a space (corp.com becomes corp com)
Use of these stripped words, symbols and characters in your search will give you inaccurate results.
If you are looking for B-B CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC., type BB CONSTRUCTION. The search will also find variations such as:
- THE B & B CONSTRUCTION, INC.,
- B.B. CONSTRUCTION, LTD. and
- B B CONSTRUCTION.
The search results show the entire name as entered on the records even though the names are stored in a formatted system.
The database uses an indexing system for several commonly used words, symbols and punctuation marks referred to as "stop words". Stop words are not indexed in the search tool. This means that the system acts as if these words are stripped out and can't be used in the search. Such words as "corporation"; "but"; "company" and "limited" are included. There following is a complete list of stop words.
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
REGISTERED LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP
REGISTERED PARTNERSHIP HAVING LIMITED LIABILITY
LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP
Plus sign +
Forward slash /
Quotation mark "
Wild Cards allow for broader search results. Use the percent sign (%) as a "wild card' character. It can be used for Name Availability searches or whenever you are unsure of the exact name of the business entity you are searching for.
If you were searching for a business entity that you believed has the word "COLUMBUS" and some variation of "CONTRACT" such as "CONTRACTOR", "CONTRACTORS" or "CONTRACTING" Type and enter COLUMBUS CONTRACT%
The search will find all business entities in the records that contain COLUMBUS and the next significant word that started with CONTRACT.
Another wild card is the underscore (_) character when used within a word. The underscore character will match any single character that you enter it for. For example "c_t" will return names containing "cat" and "cut".
Boolean or Logical Operators - Boolean or logical operators are used to allow you to enter several words in a search. These words or symbols can be entered into the Business Name field between the words that you enter for your search. These operators are:
- AND (&) - Retrieves records in which all the entered words are present. The system considers the query "dog and cat" the same as "dog & cat". This query returns names that contain both the words "dog" and "cat" regardless of their order within the name.
- OR (|) - Retrieves records in which at least one of the entered words is present. The query "dog or cat" or "dog | cat" returns all names that contain only the word "dog", only the word "cat" or both words "dog" and "cat" in the name.
- NOT (~) Retrieves records where only the first word of the term entered is present. The query "dog not cat" or "dog ~ cat" would return all names which have the word "dog" except those that also have the word "cat".
Name Availability Search Hints
Leave out punctuation marks, symbols (such as the ampersand &) and entity designations such as "INC", "LIMITED", and "ASSOCIATION".
For example, if you were checking for the availability of "THE B&B CONSTRUCTION, INCORPORATED" the search term to enter is "BB CONSTRUCTION" or even "BB CONSTRUCT%".
- Use the wild card (%) in order to find variations in tenses or plurals. Using "ADVANC% SECURIT%" as a search term would find variations such as ADVANCED SECURITY or ADVANCE SECURITIES that could conflict with the name you are checking.
- If two of the words in the name can be used as a single word, you should conduct two (2) searches entering the name as two words and as one word to ensure the name doesn't already exist.
For example, LIGHT HOUSE RESTAURANT should be searched as LIGHTHOUSE RESTAURANT and LIGHT HOUSE RESTAURANT.