In Oklahoma, a business operating under a fictitious name may need to register a DBA. Learn more about what a DBA is, who needs one and how to register.
What is a DBA?
A DBA, also known as “Doing Business As”, Trade Name, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name is a name used by a business, that is different from the legal name of the business.
Who needs to register?
The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, depending on the type of business entity.
Sole proprietorships are the most common entities to register a business name.
The legal name of a sole proprietor can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering. For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers but doesn’t use a business name, he wouldn’t need to register. If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair then he will need to register.
A sole proprietorship has two types of name registrations available.
The first is a Trade Name which is registered with the Secretary of State. This registration is optional but it will stop another business in the state from using the exact same name.
If a Trade Name registration is not obtained, a Sole Proprietorships may need a Certificate of Fictitious Name, which is a filing by the County Clerk in the county where the business is located to identify the owners of a business. The main reason a sole proprietorship would need this certificate is if the bank requires it.
Partnerships will commonly register a Trade Name unless the name of the business is going to be the full first and last name of the owners. Partnerships will register their name with the Secretary of State.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another entity.
Oklahoma DBA Registration Form
Trade Name Registration Form
Certificate of Fictitious Name Form
Available from the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
How much does it cost to register?
The filing fee to register a Trade Name in Oklahoma is $25. This is a one-time fee.
The Certificate of Fictitious Name registration is often around $10.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Oklahoma?
Trade Name Registration
Step 1 – Verify Name Availability
A business may not register a Trade Name that is the same or similar to another business in Oklahoma.
Names can be searched on the Secretary of State’s website. Learn how to do a business name search in Oklahoma.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
Information requested on the form includes:
- Trade name being applied for
- Address of the business
- Brief description of what the business does
- Legal name of the business entity (sole proprietorships will skip)
- Type of business entity
- State where the business was formed
Step 3 – Submit the Form
Submit the filing fee and form. If sending by mail, the address is:
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 N.W. 13th, Suite 210
Oklahoma City, OK 73013
Certificate of Fictitious Name
Step 1 – Obtain the Form
Request the Certificate of Fictitious Name from the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
Step 2 – Fill out the Form
The fictitious name, name and address of the owner, date of filing and a signature is typically the only information requested on the form.
Step 3 – Notarize the Form
Before submitting the form, be sure to have it notarized. Most County Clerk’s offices provide notary services at no cost.
Step 4 – Submit the Form
Submit the form and filing fee to the County Clerk.
DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking or insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services. Additionally, words related to illegal activities are not allowed either.
Protecting your business name
While registering a Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Oklahoma, it does very little from someone else operating a business under that name. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.
If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at 405-522-2520.