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“Doing Business As” Names - DBAs

A Doing Business As (DBA) name can also known as a Trade Name, Fictitious Name, Alternate Name or Assumed Name, depending on the jurisdiction.

  • In many jurisdictions it is permissible for your company to conduct business under a different name than the one you registered with initially, without even filing an Amendment, if you register that other name with the appropriate authority for that jurisdiction.
  • The registration may be filed with the State, County or City, depending on where you intend to do business with the other name.
  • The process is usually inexpensive and fairly quick.
  • In most cases after registering you will have the right to give your other name on your business cards, building and vehicle signage, order forms, advertisements, and even accept checks and made payable in your other name.
  • Ideally your bank account and legal contracts should include both your legal name and your permissible other name.
  • Example: If Delaware Business Incorporators, Inc. wanted to do business in Wilmington Delaware under the name "Del Bus Inc Global", we would register a "Fictitious Name" with the Clerk of Courts of New Castle County. Our checks would read "Delaware Business Incorporators, Inc. DBA'Del Bus Inc Global'".
  • Aside from the desire to use another name for your own reasons, your company may be required to do business in another state by a different name in a few circumstances:
    • If your name is not permissible in that state because it breaks the established company naming laws. Example: If "Del Bus Inc LLC" wanted to qualify to transact business in New Jersey, we would have to apply for authority in NJ under an alternate name because New Jersey law does not allow LLC's to use the abbreviation "Inc" in their name. So our Application for Authority would read: "Del Bus Inc LLC DBA in New Jersey as 'Del Bus Incorporators LLC'"
    • If your name is already registered in that state by someone else who has Exclusive Use rights to that name. "Exclusive Use" means no one else in that jurisdiction may use your name. For example, If "DBI, Inc." wanted to register as a Foreign Corporation with Authority to Transact Business in Ohio, and there was already a company registered in Ohio as "DBI, Inc.", we might register in Ohio as "DBI, Inc. DBA in Ohio as 'DBI, Inc. of Delaware'" or perhaps, "DBI, Inc. (Ohio)" or any other name that isn't taken in Ohio.
  • Some states require you to include the appropriate suffix after your other permissible name ("Delaware Business Incorporators Global Corp. DBA'DBI Global Corp.'") while others require that you do not include a suffix ("Delaware Business Incorporators Global Corp.DBA 'DBI Global'")!
  • In many Jurisdictions your other permissible name is not afforded Exclusive Use rights, unlike the legal name you registered under when the new Corporation was Incorporated or LLC was formed.
  • Following our above example, this would mean that, while no other company could do business in Delaware with the name "Delaware Business Incorporators Global Corp." another company could do business in New Castle County Delaware under the name "DBI Global".
  • If we wanted to protect that name from use, our options would include registering "DBI Global" as a new Delaware Corporation, or possible applying for Trademark rights.





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