Generally, North Carolina law requires that the name of a business entity be distinguishable from other entities currently transacting business or conducting affairs within the state.  You may apply, however, to use a name already existing within the records of the Secretary of State’s office if 1) the other party who has previously reserved or registered the name consents in writing to your using the name and submits a form to change its own name upon the Secretary’s records, or 2) you deliver a certified copy of the final judgment of a court which establishes your right to use the name to the Secretary of State’s office.  

Also, the type of structure you choose to run your business will affect the name of the business.  For example, the name of a corporation must contain the word “incorporated” “corporation” or similar abbreviations, whereas a limited liability company’s name must include “limited liability company,” “LLC,” etc.