Startup tips: Do I need a lawyer to file a DBA?

What is a DBA?

Filing a DBA, also known as an assumed name, trade name, or fictitious name, is an easy process that is achieved by registering with your state, county, and/or city. There are a few reasons a business might apply for a DBA but the central focus of course is the belief that the prospective name change would be good for business.

What’s the point of having a DBA?

A DBA can accomplish several things for business owners. If a business wishes to rebrand itself without forming a new limited liability company or corporation, they can simply register a DBA instead. If a business receives bad publicity, they may register a DBA to mislead the public into thinking that their business has changed for the better or indeed is an entirely different company.

Do I need a lawyer to file a DBA?

You don’t need a lawyer to file a DBA. The process is normally easy and there is no need to spend your hard earned money on any unnecessary legal fees. All the information you will need on how to file a DBA is here on this website: file a DBA now This site has all the information you will need and you will be able to see that the process of filing a DBA is rather straightforward. Lawyers are generally only required in specific circumstances.

How do you file a DBA?

There is specific paperwork that needs to be filled out, as well as a filing fee. You can do all of this with a local or county agency, but some states require you to file with a state agency instead of, or in addition to, the county. Some states and counties might also require you to publish it with a local newspaper, giving the public notice that you have filed a DBA. However for the average business this is not normally necessary.

You will need to check the specific requirements for your state. For example in New York, sole proprietorships and general partnerships must file a business certificate listing their assumed names with the county clerk’s offices. Corporations, LLCs, LLPs and limited partnerships, on the other hand, must file assumed names with the New York Department of State. In contrast, the state of Kansas has no requirements for businesses to register fictitious names.

Potential uses for a lawyer

Once you’ve chosen your business’s fictitious name and registered it locally, you might want to consider filing for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect your intellectual property. Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds or colors that distinguish goods and services. If the paperwork and filing process seems like too much to comprehend, you can contact a business lawyer to complete all the necessary filings to secure your DBA name. Reputable business lawyers are listed by the American Bar Association.

Is My DBA Name Protected?

There are some cases where legal help might be needed. This can occur when you want a name that might be considered to close an existing business. There are laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. This limited protection would end at the state’s border. However, it is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer protection across state lines. Another scenario is where the name might be viewed as controversial in some way, A good example of this would be when a business wants to use a name which might be considered defamatory to their competition.


If you need a lawyer for a DBA, it will be because your case has met specific circumstances, where extra legal help might be required. The average business owner however does not want hefty legal fees over a simple name change or an attempt at rebranding their product. Larger companies are more likely to make use of a lawyer if they feel the expenses will be financially worth it.