Business Certificates (DBA)
What is a DBA Certificate?
All fictitious name certificates for businesses, commonly known as "Doing Business As" (DBA) certificates, are filed with the Office of the Town Clerk. Massachusetts requires any person or business entity who is conducting business under an alias (i.e. any other name than their own), including corporations, to file a business certificate in the community where their business is principally headquartered.
How to Apply for a DBA Certificate
The following are required to obtain a DBA:
- A DBA application, which must be signed in the presence of a Notary Public
- A copy of your current lease agreement that includes signatures, OR a copy of your recent real estate tax if you own the property
- A copy of Articles if your business is a corporation or LLC
- A check payment of $75, payable to the Town of Brookline
Please allow 1-2 business days for processing the DBA application.
Why do I need a DBA Certificate?
DBA certificates allow consumers to identify and locate the proprietor of a business. The filing of a DBA certificate also serves as notice that the filer claims the exclusive use of the name contained in the certificate. Filing a business certificate at the local level, however, does not protect your name. If you have a business name or a symbol that you consider unique and valuable you may want to register it as a trademark or a service mark.
- A "trademark" is any word, name, symbol or device, or combination of these, used by a person (individual, partnership, corporation, or association) to identify their goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.
- A "service mark" identifies and distinguishes a person's services and is given the same protection as a trademark.
There is no requirement under the Trademark Law (M.G.L. Chapter 110B) that a person doing business register with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, under M.G.L. Chapter 110, §5, any person doing business under a name other than their own must file a business certificate with the town or city hall where they maintain an office.
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