If I form an LLC in Texas named ABC Company, LLC, do I have to file a DBA to operate under ABC Company?
6 attorney answers
The best practice is to file an assumed name certificate with the Secretary of State for any name you will be using in business other than the full name of the entity. It's easy and inexpensive to do, and you can do this without a lawyer. However, the question suggest that you might benefit from sitting down with a lawyer to make sure you're doing everything you need to do in order to get the personal liability protection from having an LLC. One of the benefits of having an attorney prepare your entity is that they'll explain to you all the things that need to be done to make sure your personal matters and company matters remain separate.
The better practice is to file a dba. If you were only operating the storefront, then you would be very unlikely to encounter problems, so long as your contracts, licenses, and other legal documents were obtained under the full name and gave notice that your business is an LLC. Add the internet to this picture and you have created a different scenario, in part because you are now bumping up against the law of many other jurisdictions. In that case the better practice is to file your dba with the Texas Secretary of State.
Losing the shield against personal liability is one of many potential problems you create if you stop using LLC without filing a dba. If you contract under the company name, minus "LLC," you run a very serious risk of personal liability for company activities.
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I agree with most of several previous answers.
As presented, the question is not strictly related to "intellectual property" - you should not need to consult with an intellectual property attorney. It is possible, however, that "ABC Company" is already a trademarked name. Do a computer search - especially for where the storefront will be located. You also need a national search, however, if you want to use the name on your website.
As someone else wrote, technically you will been to file a D/B/A to JUST use "ABC Company". Someone else gave a link on how to do this.
Be careful of answers from non-Texas lawyers...
I don't have enough facts to determine what exactly you need to do, but more likely than not you will need to complete an assumed name certificate with the Secretary of State. Although this question is listed in intellectual property, you apparently are not looking for marketing/product/commerce advice, so I'd be wary of the other answers. If all you are doing is identifying your business by its name on your office but wanting to drop the LLC, that is a much simpler issue.
Again, specific facts may change this, and you need to speak to a lawyer directly.
If your intention is to drop it entirely, then it probably makes sense to file the DBA.
I would really just add that merely registering a business with the state or county conveys no right to use that name as a trademark in commerce. The states are really just concerned that no other business name is being registered with the exact same as another already on file. This is not a trademark analysis of course. For example, I could probably register the name of my new tech start up "Boogle" in the state of TX because presumably there is no other business already registered there with that same name. But this does not mean that I am not infringing on the Google trademark which I mostly would be.
Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.). So you owe it to your business and yourself to make sure you handle this properly upfront and the first order of business always starts with a proper and comprehensive clearance.
Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence upfront and before you start spending any money in support of it or submit an application to the USPTO. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property. See the link below for a brief article from Fox Business News on the importance of the due diligence process and our overview guide.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
The hyper-technical answer appears to be yes, you must file an assumed name certificate.
ABC Company, LLC is the "legal" name of the company -- which must be used when entering into contracts and filing documents with any government agency -- while ABC Company is its "assumed" name.
Visit the first link below for more information about assumed names under Texas law. Visit the second link below to read a court decision that addresses the practical and legal problems that can arise when an assumed name certificate is not filed and the company needs to use the Texas courts to resolve a dispute.
You should, of course, speak with your own Texas-licensed intellectual property attorney who will consider whether you properly "cleared the rights" to use the company name you've selected and, if so, how to go about creating and protecting the trade name / trademark rights in that name. Good luck.
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.