How to File a Colorado DBA

By Mark Kennan

Many businesses choose to use a name other than their businesses' legal name. In Colorado, these are called trade names. In other states, they may be commonly referred to as a "doing business as" -- a DBA -- or as a fictitious name. In Colorado, if you don't register your trade name with the secretary of state, you risk fines or an injunction preventing you from using your chosen name.

Who Must File

Colorado requires all businesses in the state to register their trade names if they operate under a different name from the legal name. For example, if your name is John Doe, but you operate Corner Shop Cookies as a sole proprietor, you must register the name "Corner Shop Cookies" as your trade name with the secretary of state. The only exception is for nonprofit entities, which are not required to register trade names as long as they have filed articles of incorporation or some other formative document with the secretary of state.

Registration Process

Trade names must be filed online through the secretary of state's website. From the "File a Business Document" page, select "File a form to create a NEW record" and click "Trade Name" under the "LLCs, Corporations & Trade Names" heading. Select the correct business entity to get the appropriate trade name registration form for your business. When filling out the form, include your name, contact information, trade name and brief business description. You can also specify whether you want the trade name to take effect immediately or on a date up to 90 days in the future.

File a DBA for your business online. Get Started Now

Time Frame

The length of time your trade name is valid depends on the type of your business. General partnerships and sole proprietorships must renew their trade name every year -- and they can renew during the last three months before the expiration date. For corporations and LLCs, the trade name remains in effect as long as the business is in good standing. If the business becomes delinquent, such as if it doesn't satisfy the annual reporting requirements, or if it dissolves, the name is only protected for one year after the delinquency or dissolution.


In Colorado, registering your trade name merely offers notice that you're using the trade name -- it does not provide name protection. When registering your name, there's no requirement that it be distinguishable from any other previously registered trade names, so it's possible that your desired trade name is already in use by another business or that another business will register the exact same trade name in the future. Other laws offer name protection, however, such as the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, prohibitions on unfair competition and federal trademark registration.

File a DBA for your business online. Get Started Now
Trade Name Registration & Renewal in the State of Ohio



Related articles

LLC Name Requirements

A company’s name sets it apart from competition and helps define the business’s identity. Coming up with a name for a limited liability company involves more than just brainstorming for an appropriate moniker. It also involves making sure you comply with state regulations for LLC naming and federal trademark rules.

How to Register an LLC in Colorado

If you are thinking about starting your own business in Colorado, registering a limited liability company (LLC) is an option for organizing your business. For a small business owner in Colorado, an LLC combines the corporate protections of limited liability with the tax benefits and relaxed formalities of a partnership. The Colorado secretary of state regulates the creation of business associations, including LLCs, in Colorado. Registering an LLC in Colorado requires submitting a form, called an articles of organization, with the Colorado secretary of state.

How to Register a Business Name With the State of South Carolina

Your business name is more than just a few words that appear on your filing documents and tax returns; it's often your first interaction with potential customers. In South Carolina, the Secretary of State manages the registration of business names and requires that every business have a name that's distinguishable from those that are already registered in the state. According to the Secretary of State, it usually processes your registration within two business days of when it's received, but the processing could take longer if the office is swamped with applications.


Related articles

Colorado Rules for Using a DBA Name

A business may use a "doing business as" name to identity itself to the public. A DBA, known as a trade name in ...

Sole Proprietorship in the U.S.

A sole proprietor is an individual who owns an unincorporated business. There are nearly 23 million sole ...

What Do You Need to Register a Business Name?

For many customers, your business name is the first point of reference they have with regard to your company. Leave a ...

Filing a Sole Proprietor DBA in Los Angeles

California state law requires every business owner using a fictitious name to file a fictitious business name statement ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED