When should I apply for a DBA?

Form used in San Francisco to apply for a DBAThis post continues the last post’s discussion of the fictitious business name (FBN – or, colloquially, the DBA for “doing business as”). This post is prompted by a client’s question as to when his company should apply for a DBA / fictitious business name.

California Business & Professions Code Section 17910(a) states that a Fictitious Business Name Statement must be filed within 40 days of the time when the FBN first was used by the registrant to conduct business in the state.

The Statement is filed with the County Clerk in the county where the registrant’s principal place of business is located in the state, or in Sacramento County if there is no such place (Business & Professions Code Section 17915). In addition, if the registrant wishes, FBN Statements can be filed in other counties.

After the FBN Statement is filed, it must be published in a newspaper of general circulation once per week for four successive weeks (Business & Professions Code Section 17917; Government Code Section 6064).

The process is not difficult, and there is a statutory incentive to apply for a DBA right away. No lawsuit may be brought based on a contract or transaction entered into under the FBN until the filing and publication procedures have been complied with (Business & Professions Code Section 17918).

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Follow-up: As noted by Staci Riordan on the Fashion Law Blog, when you apply for a DBA / fictitious business name, you should think about whether to register the name as a trademark or service mark.

Related post: What If I No Longer Need My DBA?

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510 547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

3 comments

  1. [...] know whether the new business should be under the same legal entity – perhaps with a separate fictitious business name (DBA) – or under a separate [...]

  2. Quora says:

    What’s the penalty for not filing a DBA/fictitious name for your business in California?…

    Instead of a penalty for non-compliance, there is a statutory incentive to comply with fictitious business name (FBN) requirements: No lawsuit may be brought based on a contract or transaction entered into under the FBN until the filing and publication…