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Overview

Okay, so you are looking to see if you need a DBA -correct? Well, here is the basics:

The phrasedoing business as” (abbreviated DBA or d/b/a) is a legal term, meaning that the name of the business or operation does not include the legal name of its proprietor, the names of all partners, or the official registered name of the limited partnership or corporation that owns it.

If you are doing business under any name other than your given name, or your actual corporate name, you will need to file a Doing Business As (DBA) or Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement.

DBAs are also called Fictitious Name Statements, Business Name Statements, Trade Names, Assumed Names and Assumed Business Certificates.

The distinction between an actual and a “fictitious” name is important because businesses with “fictitious” names give no obvious indication of the entity that is legally responsible for their operation. Therefore, for consumer protection purposes, most jurisdictions require businesses operating with fictitious names to file a DBA statement. This also reduces the possibility of two local businesses operating under the same name. Note, though, that this is not a replacement for obtaining a trademark. A DBA filing carries no legal weight in instances where a trademark would be necessary.

DBA statements are often used in conjunction with a franchise. The franchisee will have a legal name, but conduct business under the franchise’s brand name (which the public would recognize). Thus, a franchisee for Imo’s Pizza (a local St. Louis pizza restaurant) might have the legal name of “The Sauce Company, Inc. D.B.A. Imo’s Pizza”.

Notably in California and also in other areas, filing a DBA statement also requires that a notice of the fictitious name be published in local newspapers for some set period of time to inform the public of the owner’s intent to operate under an assumed name. The intention of the law is to protect the public from fraud, by compelling the business owner to record his/her name with the County Recorder, and making a further public record of it by publishing it in a newspaper.

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Looking for a quick and hassle-free way to obtain your DBA? Check out LegalZoom below:
 FeaturesSubmission TimeTurnaroundRating & Prices
#1 Most Recommended
LegalZoom performs a name search of your DBA, and then completes and files your application for you. All while providing you with advice along the way!
< 15 minutes
< 2 weeks
Click here to
see prices