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When a corporation or LLC wants to launch a brand under a different name without changing the name under which it is registered as a corporation or LLC, this is called “doing business as,” or DBA. Arizona does not require businesses to register DBAs, but if you operate your business under a trade name or “fake name,” you will want to protect that trade name so no one else will use it.
Make sure your trade name does not already exist. Arizona offers a handy online name search tool to make your research simple. The site searches only trade names in Arizona; if you want a federal search, you’ll go to the TESS database to look for U.S.-registered trademarks.
Make your name distinguishable. Adding a modifier or identifier like “corporation” or “LLC” to the end of a business name that someone else owns does not make your name distinguishable; it likely will be rejected. Likewise, replacing the word “and” with an ampersand (&) or adding “a,” “an” or “the” does not make your name distinguishable from an existing name.
File your application. The application can be downloaded and printed from the Department of State’s website, and there is a $10 filing fee that must be paid by cash or check. The form will need to be returned to the DOS Phoenix office or its satellite office in Tucson.
If you are a sole proprietor, don’t think you can’t benefit from registering a trade name. While not required for doing business in Arizona, a trade name can improve your reputation and your brand by making your business appear more established and legitimate.Anyone with a business that is registered with the state under one name and operates under another name should consider protecting both trade names. Your name is your brand, and if you don’t protect your brand, nothing protects you from having someone else use the name.If you have questions or concerns about filing a DBA, a small business attorney can help you walk through the steps.