Many businesses choose to operate under an assumed name or a DBA, which is short for “doing business as.” This happens whenever a business operates under a name which is not identical to the official name of the entity filed with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
A business may decide to use a different name in an effort to better represent its products or services, to appeal to its customers, to differentiate a new segment of business or simply because its legal name is too long or cumbersome to use.
There are no restrictions on the number of DBAs a company can have, but each assumed name must be properly registered.
Corporations and limited liability companies must register assumed names with the Secretary of State’s Office and the County Clerk’s Office where the principal place of business is located.
Sole proprietors or partnerships are operated under the owner’s name. Frequently, these owners do not want to use their personal name for their business, in which case they must register the assumed name. Sole proprietors and partnerships are required to file a certificate of assumed name with the County Clerk’s office where the business is primarily located and with the County Clerk’s office in each county where they conduct business.
Unlike a “trade name” filing, owning an assumed name does not create any special rights to use the name or prevent another party from using that name. When a company registers to do business in Texas—either because it is just forming or because it is registering as a business from another state— the Secretary of State’s Office reviews the name of the company to make sure that the business’s name is not deceptively similar to the name of another company already registered in Texas. This ensures that the names of business entities are unique. If you want to make sure that no other company can use your business’s name or its assumed name, you must trademark that name with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Be sure to include your business’s assumed name in your business contracts. For example: My Company, LLC, DBA Assumed Name.
For more information, please contact Kathy Tremmel at Tremmel Law, PLLC at (512) 539-0317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.