Is My DBA in Florida Protected From Being Used by Others?

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( — October 14, 2020) — Getting a DBA for your Florida business is a good idea if you’re looking for better branding opportunities and business credibility. But let’s first consider how you can protect your DBA from being used by others, and other legal concerns of choosing a DBA in Florida.  


A DBA (Doing Business As), also known as a fictitious name in Florida, is most often used by sole proprietorships who want to conduct business under a name that is not the owners. However, LLC, partnerships and corporations can also register for DBA, most often for purposes of better branding and marketing opportunities. Yet it must be noted that registering for a DBA does not offer businesses the guarantee that other businesses do not use your DBA, a DBA does not offer official naming rights to your business name, as is more the case with formal business structures such as LLCs, corporations and partnerships. There are state-level laws that help prevent DBA that are too similar from existing, but officially your DBA is not protected in Florida. Let’s look at some things you can do to better protect your Florida DBA from being used by other businesses in the state. 

But what more can you do to protect your DBA from being used by other businesses in Florida? 

Create a federal trademark for your DBA

The first thing you can do is create a federal trademark for your DBA, a federal trademark will provide much stronger protection for your business name across state lines. It will be good to first conduct a search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System to check whether another business has already trademarked your business name before filing for your DBA. Once you’ve made sure your DBA has not already been trademarked by another business you can start the process to create a federal trademark for your DBA. To file for a trademark, you need to complete and file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), after which you will need to wait until it is approved to better guarantee that no one inappropriately adopts or uses your business name and branding information. Creating a trademark for your DBA can provide better legal protection and naming rights for your business name in Florida and in other states as well. 

It is important to remember that a DBA is simply a business name, to use on quotes, receipts, banking statements, business cards, and the like. When registering for a DBA, it is also important to know that a DBA does not offer you any sort of legal protection. A DBA can not protect business owners with limited liability protection, like LLCs and other formal incorporations do. A DBA cannot provide you with a corporate veil that protects your personal assets from business liabilities, it also does not come with any sort of tax advantages available to formal business structures. A DBA is only an assumed or trade name that sole proprietorships can use if they do not want to operate under the owner’s personal name. 

How to file a Florida DBA

Filing your Florida DBA takes all but three steps. The first step is doing a Sunbiz Florida Fictitious name search to check whether the DBA you’ve chosen is distinguishable from other Sunbiz Florida fictitious names already registered. It is important to remember that your DBA cannot contain any business suffixes or terms given to financial institutions. The next step is publishing a notice of your DBA in your local newspaper. It is required that you publish a legal notice of intent to file a fictitious name before registering your DBA on Sunbiz. This notice must be published in the primary county in which your business operates. The last step is filing your DBA with the state. This is either done online, through the Sunbiz fictitious name portal, or in-person or through the mail by completing the application for registration for fictitious name form. In both cases you will be required to provide the chosen DBA and other information about your business, such as the business address, principal county, and EIN if it has one. Having this information handy will only further streamline the DBA registration process.

Getting professional help

There are however times when finding a professional DBA filing service may be the better option. Services provided by businesses like MyCompanyWorks and Swyft Filings offer affordable DBA filing services to help you register an entirely unique DBA for your business as efficiently as possible. There are also various other online tools and professional services that specialise in business and formation services, such as business name generator tools, logo makers and the like, and TRUiC can assist with finding many of these things. If you need any assistance with filing for your DBA, or any other aspect of getting your business off the ground it’s best to check out TRUiC’s website.