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How to reference a DBA name on a contract

Failing to properly reference the legal names of parties to a contract can create ambiguity about who is obligated by the contract. Companies that use a tradename or a dba, which is short for "doing business as," sometimes misuse their tradename when entering into a contract.

Confirm the exact legal name of the company. The correct name will be in the company's organizational documents (the articles of incorporation for a corporation or the articles of organisation for an LLC).

Insert the full legal name of the company as it appears in the organizational documents together with the state of organisation. For example, an Arizona LLC named Mike's Widgets, LLC would identify itself in the contract as "Mike's Widgets, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company."

Insert "doing business as" or the acronym "dba" after the company's legal name followed by the dba. If Mike's Widgets, LLC uses the tradename "Awesome Widgets," then the contract would identify the business as "Mike's Widgets, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company dba Awesome Widgets."

Warning

Check the laws regarding using tradenames in the state where the company does business. The company may have to file a registration of the tradename with that state.

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About the Author

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Tony Meier started writing in 1998. His first published article appeared in the “Arizona State Law Journal” while he was a law student. Meier is a member of the State Bar of Arizona. He holds a bachelor's degree in finance and a law degree from Arizona State University.