doing business as (DBA)

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Doing business as (DBA) is a term referred to as a business’s assumed, trade or fictitious name, indicating that the business is conducted and presented under a name other than the legal name of the legal person (or persons) who own it and are responsible for it. Not all businesses need DBA. It depends on a combination of the business's legal entity, the locale's requirements and the business owner's preference. It is often used in the case of brand names or franchises. For consumer protection, many states require a DBA statement be filed.

For example, if Amy Wilson wants to start a decoration business, her business will operate under her own name, unless Amy chooses to register her DBA name as “Amy’s Decoration Shop.” After registering DBA, Amy’s full name isn’t legally attached to her business’s name.

See also Donovan v. RRL Corp., 26 Cal. 4th 261 (2001), where the defendant, RRL Corporation, was a Lexus car dealership doing business as Lexus of Westminster. Thus, a document might refer to the organization as: "RLL Corporation d/b/a Lexus of Westminster."

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]