What is the difference between a DBA (Doing Business As) and a Fictitious Business Name?

There is no difference between a DBA and Fictitious Business Name. The terms are interchangeable.

Do I need a DBA if I just formed a corporation or LLC?

No. a DBA is only needed if you are doing business under a name that is different than what is set forth on the Articles of Incorporation/Organization. This includes variations on the name.

If I’m doing business under my individual name, do I need a DBA?

A DBA is not typically required if you are doing business under your individual name. However, most banks will not allow you to open a business account without a DBA. A DBA is necessary if you are doing business under a different name. For example, if you do not have a corporation or LLC, and wanted to do business using the name, “Joe’s Computer Repair,” a DBA would be in order. This will not, however, provide you with any liability protection.

Will a DBA provide me with liability protection if I get sued?

No. DBAs do not afford any liability protection. If you are interested in protecting your assets, in connection with your business venture, you should consider forming a corporation or LLC.

Can anyone else use my DBA name?

Yes. Registering a DBA does not provide you with the exclusive rights to the name. Somebody else would be able to register the same name in a different county, or as a Corporation or LLC. If you are looking to obtain full and exclusive rights to use a name, you should consider registering a federal trademark.

Do I have to publish my DBA?

Publication requirements vary from state to state. When publication is required, the DBA statement must be published in a specific newspaper, once per week, for one month.