Sole proprietorships, also called “DBAs” (“doing business as”), and must register their business under the owner’s legal name. While some sole proprietors may do business under their legal names, such as a freelancer without the need for additional branding, most use more creative names.
But before you start doing business under a name that differs from your own (if registered as a DBA), make sure you fully understand the meaning of fictitious business names and whether it needs to registered.
Do You Need a DBA?
A sole proprietorship that does not take the legal name of its owner must normally register the name of the business with an agency of the state government, typically the Secretary of State’s office. However, many states differ on what is considered a person’s “legal name.” Under Florida business law, for example, a legal name is defined as “a person’s given name, or an entity that has been properly registered.” This may include trademarks and service marks, in addition to the sole proprietor’s given name.
Corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and partnerships also may register fictitious names, but they generally are exempt from the types of laws that require sole proprietorships to do so (check your local laws). There are certain advantages to doing so. An LLC selling multiple product lines, for example, may opt to register the names used for each product line in order to protect its branding.
The Rationale for Registering a DBA
Why, you may ask, are the rules regarding fictitious business names so peculiar? It is really because the government wants a quick way to find out who owns a business in case there are legal problems. If your business does not take your name, then consumers who have complaints about your company may have a hard time locating you if you have not registered a fictitious business name. Also, it allows other businesses and start-ups to search for business names already in use.
Registering a fictitious business name is not only about helping consumers sue you, however. For example, if your business operates under a non-registered fictitious business name, then you, as the owner, will not be able to sign any contracts or make any enforceable agreements on behalf of your business. So, if you are planning on operating your business under a DBA name, be sure to register it.
Sole Proprietorship in Utah
Perhaps the best way to explain how the law works with regard to the registration of fictitious business names is by way of example. In this case, we will focus on a sole proprietorship in California. Keep in mind that the laws and procedures regarding fictitious business names (or DBAs) differ from state to state.
However, if you decide to open your business as just your name – like “John Doe” – then you don’t have to register your name. But if you’re going to do business as “John Doe Enterprises” then you do have to file a DBA registration with the Utah Department of Commerce.
DBA Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need legal help with a DBA License in Utah, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506