In the process of trying to figure out what I need to do to get legal I saw this listed. Are we required to do this?
I've never heard of that.
In my state, if you want to file a corporation (such as an LLC), you have to do an entity name search on the Department of Revenue's website, and you can reserve the name for filing (for a fee). But that's only if you want to file as a corporation.
Part of starting a business is naming it. As a small business owner your name and social security number becomes the business entity. So if you aren't using your personal name then you need a fictitious name to do business under, so hence the search. You have to have a name no one else has. I'm at that stage of my business set up, but a few of my ideas are already taken.
It's a good idea and common sense to check to see if the name you want to use is already taken.
I'd hate to get my computer business all up and running just to find out that the name "Microsoft" was already taken. And I'd doubly hate to find it out when Mr. Gates' attorney hit me with a "change the name or else" order.
You also should make sure the domain is still available, and probably not confusable with another, ahem, less than reputable one
In my county, I had to file a DBA request with the county clerk, and pay to have a notice in a local paper for three weeks. With no responses claiming the name, I was then issued my DBA (doing business as)
Read this and you will understand why it is so important to do a fictitious name/dba search as well as a internet/domain name search.