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What to Know About DBAs or Trade Names

  • Sep 17 2020

When you have a business, sometimes you don’t want to operate under your registered legal name for a variety of reasons. This is where a DBA registration comes in handy. A DBA, short for “Doing Business As,” is also known as a fictitious business name, an assumed name, or a trade name. It allows the business to operate under a different name than its legal name.

Why Use a DBA?

There are many reasons as to why a business would operate under a DBA or trade name. Since companies would have to go through an arduous process to legally change their name (amend articles, obtain a new EIN, etc.), a DBA can bypass that hassle.  Since a single company can have unlimited DBA’s, each of which is inexpensive, with multiple DBA’s a company can open separate bank accounts for its different operations. 

Another reason a company may wish to use a DBA is if it wants to use the owner’s name. While using a trade name that includes the owner’s personal name to do business is perfectly fine, doing so without a DBA may violate business procedures. For example, when you incorporate your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you must do business in the company’s legal name to protect this status. Doing business under a different name without a DBA in place could put your limited liability at risk. 

Ensure Your DBA is Available

In order to operate under a trade name, you must register the name in the state, county, or city in which your business operates. But before you do so, you’ll want to be sure that your trade name isn’t already listed in your state business name registry and the U.S. Trademark TESS database. If it’s listed there you may be infringing upon someone else’s trademark or reserved name. 

Once you make sure that your trade name is available, you can file for the DBA online and will likely receive a response within 3 business days. 

Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser Can Help Protect Your Inventions and Your Rights

If you or a loved one wishes to operate under a trade name or has another idea or product that you want to protect, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced intellectual property (IP) attorney in order to determine your best options. 

At Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser, our qualified IP attorneys can help you to navigate the relevant application process or can help to defend your rights regarding any infringement. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Trademarks

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