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North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
Secretary of State, Business Services North Dakota Secretary of State
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Business Services
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Sole Proprietorship FAQs

See: Business Services, Business Registrations, FAQs (generally applicable to all business entities)

See: Business Registrations, Trade Name, FAQs

Can a sole proprietorship use the word "company" in the trade name?
No. NDCC, Section 47-25-03 provides:
"A trade name may not contain the word "company", "corporation", "incorporated", "limited", "limited liability company", "limited partnership", "limited liability partnership", "limited liability limited partnership" or any abbreviation of any of these words unless the owner of the trade name is a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability limited partnership as indicated by the words used in the name."

Can I convert my sole proprietorship to a different business structure, e.g., a corporation, and continue to use the name I developed as a sole proprietorship?
You, as the registrant of the trade name, will have to either:

  • Grant consent to use of name to the newly forming entity,
  • Assign the trade name to the newly forming entity; or
  • Cancel the trade name registration at the time the new entity is filed with the Secretary of State.

Your essential business identity can be retained, but the creation of the new business structure may require some minor change to the name such as adding "corporation", "incorporated", "limited liability company", etc., or an abbreviated version of an entity indicator.

Can I convert my sole proprietorship to a different business structure, e.g., a corporation, and continue to use any licenses or permits that I held as a sole proprietor?
Likely not. A different business structure is a separate legal entity from the sole proprietorship. Licenses are not usually transferable from one business structure to another. Consult legal counsel or the agency that issued the license.

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