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Do I need to register my dba if my W9 has my "first name last name LLC" and the dba secondary?

Suwanee, GA |

For example..
John Doe LLC
DBA Joe Blow's to Go
000 main st
nowhere ga. 00000
If this appears on the W9 Joe gives to his clients he receives payments from, does he still need to register his DBA name with the county?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

The "dba" is a trade name, not a trade mark...this often an important, but sometimes confusing, distinction. Under Georgia law, those who use a trade name are required to register it in the county in which the business is located. Based on your example, it appears John Doe LLC is using the trade name, and as such, it should be registered. Registration is done via the Superior Court Clerk and there is a publication requirement (the clerk's office can tell you the specifics, and most can provide the registration form).

The law also provides that using a trade name without registering it is a criminal offense, albeit a misdemeanor; however, I suspect few, if any, have ever been prosecuted for violating this statute.

[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

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Posted

Yes. If you use a dba you need to register it under most state laws. See a local business or IP attorney.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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Posted

Yes. Speak with a Georgia-licensed trademark attorney to assist with the process.

The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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5 comments

Charles I. Pollack

Charles I. Pollack

Posted

The question actually involved a trade name, not a trademark.

Daniel Nathan Ballard

Daniel Nathan Ballard

Posted

Charles, the example used was "Joe Blow's to Go" which, when used in advertisements, is a TRADEMARK as well as a trade name. Having taught trademark law for quite some I'd appreciate it if you would only correct me when you're right.

Charles I. Pollack

Charles I. Pollack

Posted

The question was about a "dba" which indicates a trade name. There was no mention of advertisements, only a W9 form.

Charles I. Pollack

Charles I. Pollack

Posted

In any event it's use of the trade name which triggers the registration requirement. As you know, registration of a trademark is optional; under Georgia law, registration of a trade name is mandatory.

Daniel Nathan Ballard

Daniel Nathan Ballard

Posted

Your position was that "[t]he question actually involved a trade name, not a trademark." That statement is false. You need to move on.

Posted

Talk to local counsel, but most state laws would still require you to register your dba.

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