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A trade name, trading name, or business name is a
pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which differs from their original or true name (orthonym). This also differs from a new name that ...
used by companies that do not operate under their registered company name. The term for this type of alternative name is a "fictitious" business name. Registering the fictitious name with a relevant government body is often required. In a number of countries, the phrase "trading as" (abbreviated to t/a) is used to designate a trade name. In the United States, the phrase "doing business as" (abbreviated to DBA, dba, d.b.a. or d/b/a) is used, among others, such as assumed business name or fictitious business name. In Canada, "operating as" (abbreviated to o/a) and "trading as" are used, although "doing business as" is also sometimes used. A company typically uses a trade name to conduct business using a simpler name rather than using their formal and often lengthier name. Trade names are also used when a preferred name cannot be registered, often because it may already be registered or is too similar to a name that is already registered.


Legal aspects

Using one (or more) fictitious business name(s) does not create one (or more) separate legal entities.
Pinkerton's, Inc. v. Superior Court
', 49 Cal. App. 4th 1342, 1348-49, 57 Cal. Rptr. 2d 356, 360 (1996) (collecting cases and explaining term of art "doing business as" (DBA)).
The distinction between a registered legal name and a fictitious business name, or trade name, is important because fictitious business names do not always identify the entity that is legally responsible. Legal agreements (such as
contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. A ...
s) are normally made using the registered legal name of the business. If a corporation fails to consistently adhere to such important legal formalities like using its registered legal name in contracts, it may be subject to piercing of the corporate veil. In English, trade names are generally treated as
proper noun A proper noun is a noun that identifies a single entity and is used to refer to that entity, such as ''London'', ''Jupiter'', ''Sarah'', or ''Microsoft'', as distinguished from a common noun, which is a noun that refers to a class of entities ('' ...
s.


By country


Argentina

In
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by ...
, a trade name is known as a ''nombre de fantasía'' ('fantasy' or 'fiction' name), and the legal name of business is called a ''razón social'' (social name).


Brazil

In
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 millio ...
, a trade name is known as a ''nome fantasia'' ('fantasy' or 'fiction' name), and the legal name of business is called ''razão social'' (social name).


Canada

In some Canadian
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''juris'' 'law' + ''dictio'' 'declaration') is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice, as defined by the kind of case, and the location of the issue (its ). In federations like the United St ...
s, such as
Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capital = Toronto , largest_city ...
, when a businessperson writes a trade name on a contract, invoice, or cheque, he or she must also add the legal name of the business. Numbered companies will very often operate as something other than their legal name, which is unrecognizable to the public.


Chile

In
Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of and has a population ...
, a trade name is known as a ''nombre de fantasía'' ('fantasy' or 'fiction' name), and the legal name of business is called a ''razón social'' (social name).


Japan

In
Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golden circle subdivided ...
, the word is used.


Nigeria

In
Colonial Nigeria Colonial Nigeria was the era in the History of Nigeria when the region of West Africa was ruled by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century until 1960 when Nigeria achieved independence. British influence in the region began with the ...
, certain tribes had members that used a variety of trading names to conduct business with the Europeans. Two famous examples were King Perekule VII of Bonny, who was known as ''Captain Pepple'' in trade matters, and King
Jubo Jubogha King Jaja of Opobo (full name: Jubo Jubogha; 1821–1891) was a merchant prince and the founder of Opobo city-state in an area that is now the Rivers state of Nigeria. Born in Umuduruoha Amaigbo in present day Imo State, he was taken at about the ...
of
Opobo Opobo, otherwise known as Opubo, is a city-state in the southern region of Nigeria. The Kingdom was founded in 1870 by King Jaja. A greater part of the city state is still referred to as Opobo in Rivers State. Opobo is made up of several islands an ...
, who bore the pseudonym ''Captain Jaja''. Both Pepple and Jaja would bequeath their trade names to their royal descendants as official
surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by culture. The family name may be placed at either the start of a person's full name ...
s upon their deaths.


Singapore

In
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bordering the Straits ...
, there is no filing requirement for a "trading as" name, however, there are requirements for disclosure of the underlying business or company's registered name and unique entity number.


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, there is no filing requirement for a "trading as" name, however, there are requirements for disclosure of the owner's true name and some restrictions on the use of certain names.


United States

A minority of U.S. states, including
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
, still use the term trade name to refer to "doing business as" (DBA) names; In most U.S. states now, DBAs are officially referred to using other terms; almost half of states, like
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * ''Ne ...
and
Oregon Oregon () is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. Th ...
, use the term ''Assumed Business Name or Assumed Name;'' nearly as many, like
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions of the United States. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland ...
, use the term ''Fictitious Name.'' For
consumer protection Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the marketplace. Consumer protection measures are often established by law. Such laws are intended to prevent businesses ...
purposes, many U.S. jurisdictions require businesses operating with fictitious names to file a DBA statement, though names including the first and last name of the owner may be accepted. This also reduces the possibility of two local businesses operating under the same name, although some jurisdictions do not provide exclusivity for a name, or may allow more than one party to register the same name. Note, though, that this is not a substitute for filing a
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-markThe styling of ''trademark'' as a single word is predominantly used in the United States and Philippines only, while the two-word styling ''trade mark'' is used in many other countries around ...
application. A DBA filing carries no legal weight in establishing trademark rights. In the U.S., trademark rights are acquired by use in commerce, but there can be substantial benefits to filing a trademark application.
Sole proprietors A sole proprietorship, also known as the sole trader, individual entrepreneurship or proprietorship, is a type of enterprise owned and run by one person and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. A sole ...
are the most common users of DBAs. Sole proprietors are individual business owners who run their businesses themselves. Since most people in these circumstances use a business name other than their own name, it is often necessary for them to get DBAs. Generally, a DBA must be registered with a local or state government, or both, depending on the jurisdiction. For example, California, Texas and Virginia require a DBA to be registered with each county (or
independent city#REDIRECT Independent city#REDIRECT Independent city {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
in the case of Virginia) where the owner does business. Maryland and Colorado have DBAs registered with a state agency. And Virginia requires corporations and LLCs to file a copy of their registration with the county or city to also be registered with the State Corporation Commission. DBA statements are often used in conjunction with a
franchise Franchise may refer to: Business and law * Franchising, a business method that involves licensing of trademarks and methods of doing business to franchisees * Franchise, a privilege to operate a type of business such as a cable television pro ...
. The franchisee will have a legal name under which it may sue and be sued, but will conduct business under the franchiser's
brand name A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition and, importantly, to cre ...
(which the public would recognize). A typical real-world example can be found in a well-known pricing mistake case, ''Donovan v. RRL Corp.''
26 Cal. 4th 261
(2001), where the named defendant, RRL Corporation, was a
Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Toyota. The Lexus brand is marketed in more than 70 countries and territories worldwide and is Japan's largest-selling make of premium cars. It has ranked among the 10 largest Japanese gl ...
car dealership Service and repair entrance A car dealership, or vehicle local distribution, is a business that sells new or used cars at the retail level, based on a dealership contract with an automaker or its sales subsidiary. It can also carry a variety ...
doing business as "Lexus of
Westminster Westminster is a district in central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street has many visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of Westminster, Buckin ...
", but remaining a separate legal entity from Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. In
California California is a state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in N ...
, filing a DBA statement also requires that a notice of the fictitious name be published in local
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical publication containing written information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as politics, business, sports and ...

newspaper
s for some set period of time to inform the public of the owner's intent to operate under an
assumed name A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which differs from their original or true name (orthonym). This also differs from a new name that ...
. The intention of the law is to protect the public from fraud, by compelling the business owner to first file or register his fictitious business name with the county clerk, and then making a further public record of it by publishing it in a newspaper. Several other states, such as
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a micr ...
, require print notices as well.


Uruguay

In
Uruguay Uruguay (; ; pt, Uruguai), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay ( es, República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and southwest and Brazil to its north and nor ...
, a trade name is known as a ''nombre fantasía'', and the legal name of business is called a ''razón social''.


See also

*
Pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real name) adopted by an author and printed on the title page or by-line of their works in place of their real name. A pen ...
*
Service mark A service mark or servicemark is a trademark used in the United States and several other countries to identify a service rather than a product. When a service mark is federally registered, the standard registration symbol ® or "Reg U.S. Pat ...

Service mark
*
Trade dress Trade dress is the characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers. Trade dress is a form of intellectual property. India The new ''Trad ...


References

{{reflist
Brand management {{CatAutoTOC Promotion and marketing communications Identification Management by type Marketing ...
Business lawBusiness law consists of many different areas taught in the law school and business school curricula, including: Contracts, the law of Corporations and other Business Organizations, Securities Law, Intellectual Property, Antitrust, Secured Transact ...
Product management Names
Intangible assets{{cat main, Intangible asset Asset ...