What Is a Trade Name (DBA)?

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 that 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, consider filing an application for trademark or service mark.

  • Trade names may be sold or assigned to another company.

  • When a company ceases to use a trade name, it should withdraw the registration (see Withdraw a Trade Name).

  • When a company dissolves, terminates or withdraws, the trade names owned by that company also terminate.

  • When a company is administratively dissolved or revoked by Secretary of State, and does not reinstate within two years, its trade names are also terminated.

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