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How to Determine a "Distinguishable" Name

How to determine if the entity name you want to use is "distinguishable" from any other name on record:

Alaska Corporation Statutes and Regulations are based on “distinguishable,” not “deceptively similar” nor “confusingly similar”.

1. What is "distinguishable"?

"Distinguishable" is defined by Alaska Regulation 3 AAC 16.120(a)(1) a name is distinguishable if:

  • each name contains one or more different letters or numerals or has a different sequence of letters or numerals;
  • one of the key words is different;
  • the key words are the same, but they are in a different order;
  • the key words are the same, but the spelling is creative, unusual, or artistic;
  • the key words have a marked difference in meaning in their contexts and the words are not literally identical;
  • the difference in key words is between how a number is expressed, as a numeral, Roman numeral, or word representing a numeral; or
  • an "s" is added or deleted to make the word plural, singular, or possessive; and

2. What is "non-distinguishable"?

2. "Non-Distinguishable" is defined by Alaska Regulation 3 AAC 16.120(a)(2) a name is not distinguishable if:

  • use of the words or abbreviations of the words "incorporated," "corporation," "company," "limited," "limited liability company," or "limited liability partnership," or use of the words "limited partnership," without abbreviation;
  • differences in punctuation or special characters;
  • differences in capitalization;
  • differences in whether the letters or numbers immediately follow each other or are separated by a space if the sequence of letters or numbers is identical;
  • the presence or absence of an article, preposition, or conjunction, or a symbol for that word, including "a", "an", "by", "for", "in", "plus", "the", "to", and "with".

3. What is a "key word"?

"Key word" is defined by Alaska Regulation 3 AAC 16.120(b):

  • A word other than an article, preposition, conjunction, or entity identifier.
  • Entity identifiers include "incorporated", "inc.", "corporation", "corp", "co.", "limited partnership", "limited", "ltd.", "limited liability company", "llc", "limited liability partnership", and "llp."

4. To determine if the name you want to use is “distinguishable” from another name on record:

  • Conduct a thorough search, including but not limited to: the internet; business license records; corporation records; professional license records; telephone directories; trademark records; and catalogs.
  • If you require further assistance you are advised to seek the services of an attorney or other qualified professional.

5. How do I protect the “distinguishable” name I have selected?

For more information go to How to Register or Reserve a Business Name.

This Division does not provide legal advice. The information contained within these webpages is provided for your convenience and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to know what your registering, reporting and filing requirements are based on your specific business activities. Not knowing what is expected of you may not preclude you from the legal obligation to meet these requirements and compliance with the law. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a professional, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and/or Attorney if you need additional assistance.

Contact Us

When contacting this office, please direct your questions to the appropriate Section: Corporations, Professional Licensing, or Business Licensing. Each Section specializes in its own requirements per Alaska statutes and regulations.

Professional Licensing Section
Email: License@Alaska.Gov

Corporations Section
Email: Corporations@Alaska.Gov

Business Licensing Section
Email: BusinessLicense@Alaska.Gov