Trade Name (DBA)

Trade, Fictitious, or DBA Name  

If you are a Vermont resident doing business in this state, the simplest way to meet the registration requirements of state law would be to register a trade name, also known as a fictitious name, an assumed name, or a “doing business as” (DBA) name.

Your trade name registration informs the public who you are, and what kind of business you are in, as well as giving you some degree of name protection. This type of registration is commonly used by individuals, associations of individuals, partnerships, corporations, or LLCs that intend to “do business” under a different name.

Exemptions to the Registration Requirement

Under Vermont law, 11 V.S.A. § 1621, you are not required to register a trade name with our office for individuals that are doing business with the public using their full legal name, e.g. “John Smith Carpentry” or “John C. Smith Carpentry.” However, please note that despite this exemption, and to meet internal business risk processes, many vendors and banks may still require you to register your business name with our office.

Trade Name Law

Please visit Title 11, Chapter 15 of the Vermont Statutes Online for more information.

STOP: Before you get started we recommend that you consult with an attorney, accountant, or business advisor about which business structure is best for you.

Registering a Trade Name

To register a trade name to be owned by one or more individual persons:

(Persons, Partnerships, Associations of Individuals, and Mutual Benefit Associations (MBEs))

Trade Name Registration (Individuals)

 

To register a trade name to be owned by a business entity:

(Corporations, Nonprofits, LLC/PLC/L3Cs, General Partnerships, LLPs, or LPs):

Trade Name Registration (Business Entities)

Once registered, a trade name will expire after five years. For renewal information, please see “Manage Your Registration.”

Name Availability

DO NOT invest in websites, banners, advertisements, or other marketing materials until you receive a certificate confirming your ownership of the requested name.

The state of Vermont operates under a “deceptively similar” standard. Under this standard, if the requested name is so similar to an already registered name, such that it would confuse the public as to whom they are dealing with, it will be rejected.

All registrations with the Office of the Secretary of State are subject to name availability rules. Please search our online database for your desired business name to avoid any obvious conflicts:

Search Businesses

 

Coming soon: All registration, management, and closing functions will occur via our Online Business Service Center.

This page was last updated: 2014-07-31