Colorado Rules for Using a DBA Name

by Anna Assad

A business may use a "doing business as" name to identity itself to the public. A DBA, known as a trade name in Colorado, is a name that a business uses other than the name that the company was created under. A business may use a trade name for various reasons, including brand recognition and marketing. Any business using a trade name in Colorado must follow the rules set by the state and file a statement with the Secretary of State's office.

Filing

Any business using a name other than its true name must file a Statement of Trade Name with the Colorado Secretary of State's office. The office only accepts trade name statement filings online at its website. A business using a trade name without filing a statement can't sue under the trade name and might receive penalties or a court injunction that orders the halt of business operations.

Names

A trade name doesn't have to be different from the names of other registered businesses in Colorado. That means a business doesn't have to check existing names or make a trade name reservation before filing a statement. Filing a trade name statement does not protect the trademark name from use by others, but trademark law may. For example, a local business in Colorado already using a name may have rights to the name that it can enforce in court.

Renewal

A business must renew its trade name registration every year. It expires on the first day of the 13th month after the original registration. For example, if a business registered on March 3, the registration expires on April 1 of the following year. To prevent a registration lapse, a business is allowed to renew its trade name as early as three months before its expiration date. The business can renew the name by filing a Statement of Trade Name Renewal online at the Colorado Secretary of State's website. If the business doesn't renew its name before registration expires, it must file a new Statement of Trade Name online.

Reporting Businesses

Some businesses, such as corporations, are required to report to the Secretary of State's office during the year. A business that meets all reporting requirements is considered in "good standing" by the office. Only businesses in good standing can keep a trade name registration. If the business becomes delinquent or dissolves, the trade name registration is valid for only one year afterward. The business can renew the trade name only if it cures its delinquency or reforms before the registration expires.

Termination and Transfer

A business can let its registration lapse or file a Statement of Trade Name Withdrawal to end the trade name use. Colorado does not allow one business to transfer its trade name to another business, even if the original business doesn't want to use the name any longer.