Company Naming · Business Development

Filing a DBA - What Locations Does it Need to be Filed?

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

November 13th, 2013

Hi all. We have a Deleware C-Corp under one name and now we're changing it. We currently work out of San Francisco. 

We know we have to File a DBA (doing business as) in San Francisco, but is there anything else we need to do to protect our new name? 


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Jeevan Koneru Software Developer

November 13th, 2013

I know you would need to register a new out of state business as a foreign entity (doing business in California) at CA SOS -- http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/faqs.htm#form-question7. I would imagine there is some process to re-register the new name.

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

November 13th, 2013

We have a out of state business filled out - good there! What does this mean for IRS (FEIN) and other filings? Do I need to have a DBA with the government as well or just file as our original name? Does this mean I'll be filing taxes under the Delaware name to the Gov't but to our name in SF? I've been digging through documentation, but it's not clear what is the best way for the company. My fear is signing us up for a DBA in S.F. only to find out I can't use that name anywhere else in the country or something like that. Does it even matter when you have a trademark for your name? Anyone had to navigate this before? Alison Lewis, CEO, Switch 646-894-0809 *"Stop Tuning Out and Turn On!"*

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

November 13th, 2013

Ooops I misspelled Delaware! Please accept my correction. 

Chris Murphy Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs at E2open

November 15th, 2013

You'll be filing taxes, signing agreements, etc. all as the ACTUAL company name.  Typically, you only use a DBA when you expect to have different lines of business, but want them all operating under a single legal entity.  Rules for DBA vary by state (and actually will not always be called a DBA in each state, see: Washington), but don't have a federal impact.

One note, if this is really about name changing only, then you might just consider changing the company name and be done with it.

As for Trademarks, that is also a completely separate matter, really.  If you have a Registered TM, then you are covered for the industries/purposes of that TM in all states.  Your DBA doesn't really matter here, as trademarks are about usage in commerce - not what you named your company.

If it sounds confusing... that's because it definitely can be!  To that regard, I would go back to the earlier piece - if you are not using the DBA because you want to have different lines of business, I would consider just doing a company renaming now.  It's actually easier the earlier you do that anyhow if you see it happening down the road at some point.