D.B.A. Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of D.B.A., written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is D.B.A.?

n. Abbreviation for “doing business as.” Utilized when a business name is used by a person or entity instead of their own. The public can learn the real person or entity that is behind a business name through the state requirement to file certificates of “doing business under a fictitious name” either with the County Clerk, the state Secretary of State, or another official.

However, if the business includes the name of the true owner which isn’t easily confused with the use of a corporate name then it is not necessary to file the certificate.

History and Meaning of D.B.A.

The term D.B.A stands for "doing business as" and is used to refer to a name that a business operates under rather than using the legal name of the owner or owners. Using a DBA name helps to give a business a distinct identity, which can be ideal when a business owner wants to differentiate its products or services from others in the same industry.

The use of a DBA name has been around for a long time, and it helps businesses to operate under a different name to the legal entity that owns the business. This allows them to conduct transactions without divulging their legal name or corporate identity, protecting them against fraud and other potentially harmful activities.

Examples of D.B.A.

  1. If a person named Jane Doe opens a store called “JC Coffee Shop,” then she must file for a DBA in accordance with state law.
  2. If a person named John Smith starts trading under the business name “Smith’s Home Furnishings” then he should register a DBA.
  3. A business owner named Tom Lee decides to start taking on small side jobs as a carpenter under the name TL Carpentry, so he applies for a DBA.
  4. Rachel’s Catering Services is a legally registered business, but they started offering event planning services to their clients, so they register the DBA “Rachel’s Events Planning.”
  5. If a restaurant is purchased by new owners and they intend to keep the restaurant open with the same name, then they are no required to file for a DBA if they continue to operate under the same name.

Legal Terms Similar to D.B.A.

  1. Fictitious Business Name - This is another name for DBA, but it typically refers to the use of a fictitious or made-up name.
  2. Trade Name - This is the name that a business or individual uses to identify themselves to the public, which might be different from their legal name.
  3. Assumed Name - This is a similar term for DBA or trade name, and it's defined as any name or title that a person or business uses in connection with their business or profession.