Under Ohio law, a person may reserve a name for a proposed new corporation or limited liability company, or an existing corporation or limited liability company intending to change its name may reserve a name for 180 days. Once filed, a name reservation form grants the registrant the exclusive right to use the specified name in the State of Ohio for the 180 day time period.

The Business Services Division of the Ohio Secretary of State recently changed their policy regarding the renewal of name reservations with their office. Effective immediately, they will no longer accept name reservation renewal forms, stating that such renewals are not permitted by Ohio law. If a registrant desires to reserve a name longer than the 180 day period, they may file a new name reservation form after the current reservation has expired. The Secretary of State’s office has said that they will reject a name reservation form if it is received by them before the name has expired. In the past, the Secretary of State had permitted a registrant to file name reservation renewal forms prior to the expiration of their name reservation, allowing a registrant to continuously keep a name exclusively reserved for as long as they desired.

This raises the question of what would happen if multiple parties attempted to reserve the same name the day following its expiration. The Secretary of State has indicated that multiple reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis as soon as the name has expired so it is to your advantage to file a name reservation early in the morning the day following its expiration if you wish to reserve a name for longer than 180 days.