There are different rules for DBA names, depending on the state. It’s important that you get to know Oklahoma’s particular laws regarding them.
This guide to obtaining and using a DBA name in Oklahoma will help your company legally operate under an alias. First, we’ll discuss what a DBA name is. Then we’ll go over why you might want one, how to get one in Oklahoma, and all the details involved in using one.
What is an Oklahoma “doing business as” (DBA) name?
A DBA name can be explained as an assumed name that is different from the name the company is registered under. In Oklahoma, DBA names are referred to as “trade names.”
Although any business can use a DBA name, the business structures in which they are the most common are:
- Sole proprietorships and partnerships use DBA names to seem more legitimate and bring in customers. These types of businesses are not legally separate from their owners. A DBA name means these businesses don’t have to operate under their owner’s personal name.
- Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) have legal separation from their owners. They use DBA names for marketing. A DBA name can help them appeal to a new audience or advertise a new line of products. For example, a corporation called “Flower World Incorporated” could push its roses for Valentine’s Day and open up a shop called “Roses for Her.”
It’s important to know that Oklahoma trade names don’t start a new business. They are simply another name of the business. They don’t alter a company’s tax situation in any way.
In Oklahoma, if a business chooses to use a DBA name, they must register it with the Secretary of State. However, you don’t have to use a trade name. If your company chooses to do business under its legal name, it is free to do so. Still, there are positive aspects to using a DBA name that you may want to consider. These benefits include:
- Trade names let you advertise under a different name to reach customers in new demographics.
- You need a trade name to open a business bank account under that name.
- Trade names can protect their owners’ personal identities.
- Registering a trade name can discourage or deny competitors from using or profiting off that name.
How do I choose an Oklahoma DBA name?
There’s an array of things you should keep in mind when choosing a DBA name for your Oklahoma business. You should consider who your audience is, what they’re like, and how you want to appeal to them. Unlike other states, Oklahoma businesses must file a DBA name to legally operate under a different name.
Your DBA name can’t offer any services that are against the law. You also can’t convey professional services you don’t offer, like medical or legal work. For example, if your company doesn’t offer legal counsel, your name can’t include the word “Lawyer.”
Your trade name should also be original. Some states allow more than one company to use the same DBA name. However, in Oklahoma, a business trade name must be unique. Don’t be discouraged, though, as an original trade name will help you stand out from your competitors and highlight what’s different about your business.
If you want to see if any other businesses are currently using the trade name you want in Oklahoma, you can call the Trademark Division of the Secretary of State’s Office at 405-522-2520. You can also use the Business Entities Search All tool on the Oklahoma Secretary of State website and conduct a name search using this as a name database.
It’s important to know that when you create a trade name, you aren’t trademarking it. If your DBA name is in violation of a trademark or service mark used by another company, they can take legal action against you. Utilize the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. Once there, you can search their trademark database to make sure it’s OK to use the name you want. You will also want to check for trademarks at the state level by consulting Oklahoma’s Trademark Search tool.
How do I register an Oklahoma DBA name?
Filing for a trade name in Oklahoma is pretty straightforward, but not every state has the same process. If you plan on expanding your business to another state, you should educate yourself on that state’s particular registration system.
It’s also important to note that while Oklahoma doesn’t make businesses publish trade names in the newspaper, many states do. Be aware of this if you choose to do business outside of Oklahoma. In some states, failure to publish a DBA name can result in the name’s cancellation.
To register a trade name in Oklahoma, you’ll have to file it with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You can file by mail or online.
- Pull up the “Trade Name Report” application on the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.
- Fill out the application completely. You’ll need to specify the DBA name you want to use, where you’ll be conducting business, a brief description of your business, your business’s legal name, your entity type, and the state where it was formed (Oklahoma, in this case).
- There will be a filing fee of $25.
- Put everything in one envelope and mail it to the following address:
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 N.W. 13th, Suite 210
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73103
- Visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website. Navigate to the “Downloadable Business Forms” section and click on “Trade Name (DBA’s).”
- Click on “Online,” and you’ll be redirected to the online portal. Your application will depend on if you are registered within or outside of Oklahoma.
- Before getting to the online form, you’ll have to type in your name and email address. Fill out all of the pertinent information requested in the document.
- The fee for filing online is also $25.
How do I manage ongoing DBA name compliance in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, your trade name doesn’t expire, which makes it easy to maintain. Keep in mind that in many other states, DBA names might only last five or 10 years before you have to renew them.
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 N.W. 13th, Suite 210
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73103
You can also transfer your trade name. Once again, you’ll have the option to report your transfer online or by mail. If you choose to register your transfer by mail, you’ll need to fill out a “Transfer of Trade Name Report” form and mail it to the same address. The fee for a DBA name transfer is $25.
If you decide to cancel your trade name, you can do it online or by mail, as well. If you cancel by mail, you’ll need to fill out a “Withdrawal of Trade Name Report” form and mail it to the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The fee for the cancellation of a DBA name is also $25.
Oklahoma DBA FAQs
How much does it cost to register an Oklahoma DBA name?
The fee for registering a DBA name in Oklahoma is $25, whether you choose to register online or by mail.
What is the processing time to register an Oklahoma DBA?
Getting your trade name registration processed in Oklahoma can take anywhere from a week to about 10 days. Remember that if you choose to mail in your registration, you’ll have to add time for delivery. Online registration is always faster.
Do I need a DBA name for my Oklahoma business?
While it’s not necessary to use a trade name in Oklahoma, if you only want to operate under the name your company is legally registered under, you may want to consider using a DBA name anyway.
A DBA name can protect your privacy, give you the opportunity to market to new customers, and even let you drop the designator from your business title. However, if you do want to do business under a different name, you are required to register it in Oklahoma.
If I register a DBA name in Oklahoma, can another business use the same name?
In most states, DBA names are not exclusive. However, trade names are exclusive in Oklahoma. Once you register your trade name, your business is the only one that can use it.
It’s important to remember, though, that a trade name is not the same as a trademark. If your trade name violates someone else’s trademark, they can pursue legal action against you even if they operate outside of Oklahoma. The best way to really protect your business name or any aspect of your business is to get a trademark.
Can a business in Oklahoma have multiple DBA names?
An Oklahoma business can use as many DBA names as it wants. For example, a retail corporation might own several stores that cater to different demographics of customers. Each store would need a different DBA name. One store might sell clothes to older people, while another could sell clothes for teens, and another could sell clothes for children.
Is a DBA name the same thing as a fictitious business name in Oklahoma?
In most states, DBA names, trade names, and fictitious business names are the same thing, and Oklahoma is no exception. However, some states do have legal distinctions between the titles.
Do I need a DBA name in Oklahoma if I use my own name for a sole proprietorship?
You don’t have to get a DBA name in Oklahoma if you own a sole proprietorship and choose to do business under your own name. However, you won’t be able to do business under any other name until you acquire a trade name.
Will using a DBA name affect how my business is taxed in Oklahoma?
A DBA or trade name is only a new title that your company can do business under. It does not start a new company and doesn’t alter your business’s tax structure in any way.
Are you starting or growing your business in Oklahoma? Do you need additional guidance? Give ZenBusiness a try. We’ll simplify the process of business formation and help you with compliance requirements, giving you one less thing to worry about.