Trade Name Registration
Doing Business Under More Than One Business Name
A person or company may not conduct business in West Virginia under any assumed name until the person or company files a trade name registration. This requirement protects consumers against fraud by connecting each business name to a person who is responsible for that business. Before starting to advertise or do business under another name, you must register your trade name with the Secretary of State (per West Virginia Code §47-8-2).
What is a Trade Name (DBA)?
A trade name, or "doing business as" (DBA) name, is any name under which you do business other than the current official name on your business registration record. It may be:
- a completely different name (for example, "Pizza Rosa" for "BBR, Inc.");
- a shortened name (for example, "Kilroy's" for "Kilroy's River Restaurant, Inc."); or
- a name which merely drops the corporate term (for example, "ZZZ Sleep Systems" for "ZZZ Sleep Systems, Inc.").
These are some important basic trade name principles:
- The term "trade name" applies to all references to true name, fictitious name, and DBA (doing business as) name.
- The law sets no limits on the number of trade names which may be registered by one person or company.
- Trade names are not "protected" from use by other companies through trade name registration. To protect a trade name that is in actual use, a service mark or trade mark application should be considered.
- Trade names can be sold or assigned to another company.
- When a company ceases to use a trade name, it should withdraw the registration (see Withdrawing a Trade Name below).
- When a company is dissolved, terminated or withdrawn, the trade names owned by that company are terminated.
- When a company is revoked, and does not reinstate within two years, the trade names are also terminated.
File a Trade Name Registration
File online at Business4WV.com for the fastest, most convenient filing method.
|1. Check name
|Individual, sole proprietorship or general partnership
To conduct a name search for these entity types, contact:
West Virginia State Tax Department
1124 Smith Street
Charleston, WV 25301
Toll free: 1-800-982-8297
Corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, voluntary association or business trust
To conduct a name search for these entity types, search the Secretary of State's Business Organizations Search database, then call (304) 558-8000 to confirm name availability.
Note: For the name to be available, a trade name must be "distinguishable" by at least a one word difference from any other active registered name in Secretary of State's organizations database.
following criteria are not considered when making the name distinguishable:
name endings (Company, Corporation, Inc., Ltd., LLC, etc.)
separators such as "The," "A," "And,"
"&," “-“, etc.
vs. plural words ("Food" vs. "Foods")
· use of
apostrophe(s) (“Farmer’s” vs. “Farmers”)
· separated vs. combined words of the same name ("Cut Above" vs. "CutAbove")
· singular vs. plural words ("Food" vs. "Foods")
|2. Complete the application
||The fastest, most convenient way to register a trade name (DBA) is to file online at Business4WV.com. Links to the paper application are also provided below.
Individuals, sole proprietorships and general partnerships:
Download the Secretary of State Trade Name Registration (Form TN-1) application. Submit the completed application to Secretary of State for filing. There is no fee to file; however, if choosing expedite service the expedite fee will apply.
Corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, voluntary associations and business trusts:
Download the Secretary of State Trade Name Registration (Form NR-3) application. Submit the completed application to Secretary of State with the $25 filing fee. If requesting expedite service, include the additional expedite fee. If registering multiple trade names, complete and submit a separate trade name application and filing fee for each trade name.
Withdrawing a Trade Name
Upon discontinuing the use of a registered trade name the business must file a certificate of withdrawal with Secretary of State (per West Virginia Code §47-8-4). File online at Business4WV.com for the fastest, most convenient filing method.
Individuals, sole proprietorships and general partnerships file the Trade Name (DBA) Withdrwawal application (Form TN-2). Submit the completed application to Secretary of State. There is no fee to file the application. However, if requesting expedite service, you must include the expedite service fee.
Corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, voluntary associations and business trusts file the Trade Name Withdrawal application (Form NR-4). Submit the completed application to the Secretary of State with the $25 filing fee. If requesting expedite service, include the addtional expedite service fee.
What is a "forced DBA name?"When an out-of-state (foreign) company's registered name in its home state of formation is not available for use in West Virginia, the business must register a "forced DBA name" for use in West Virginia.
It must submit as part of its business registration a forced DBA name letter of resolution approved by the officers of the business authorizing use of the forced DBA name for use in West Virginia. View a sample forced DBA name letter of resolution.