Choose a Name

Once you've brainstormed and selected the name for your business, the next step is to claim legal ownership of it to protect your brand. If you're planning to do business under any name other than your legal business name (or given name and surname if you are a sole proprietor), you must register it as a trade name.

Trade Name

A fictitious name or trade name is a business name that is different from your personal name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation. Because the fictitious business name allows you to Do Business As a name other than your given name, it is also referred to as a DBA or DBA Name. In Vermont there is an exception where individuals are not required to register a trade name with our office if they are doing business with the public under a business name that includes their full legal name, e.g. "John Smith Carpentry" or "John C. Smith Carpentry."

Find an Available Trade Name

When selecting a trade name for your business, you must choose one that is not in use elsewhere in Vermont. You can check to see if the trade name that you'd like is available by using the business search tool provided by the Vermont Secretary of State. It's also worthwhile conducting an online search and checking the US Patent and Trademark Office database to see if your trade name is being used in any other areas.

Register Your Trade Name

You must register your trade name with the Vermont Secretary of State, either online or via mail.

Advertise Your New Trade Name

Once your trade name has been registered, use it to advertise in digital, print, or other media.