DBA stands for "doing business as," and it refers to a fictitious name under which a business is run. In Los Angeles, the term used is "fictitious business name." If you are starting a business in Los Angeles County, you'll need to register a fictitious business name if the name is not identical to your own legal name. Later, if you change the name or any other information, you'll have to register that as well. Changing your DBA name in Los Angeles is a relatively easy process.
Changing a DBA
If your name is Joe Smith and you opened a musical instrument store called Joe's Music in Los Angeles County ten years ago, you obtained a fictitious business name at that time in order to legally transact business. If now you've decided to change the name of your store to Cool Joe's Music, you must complete two tasks: obtaining a fictitious business name for Cool Joe's Music and abandoning the one for Joe's Music. Both can be accomplished through the county clerk's offices in Los Angeles County. A list of county clerk's offices in Los Angeles is available online.
Obtaining a Different DBA
Los Angeles County supplies an instruction sheet for for filling out your Fictitious Business Name Statement. It states that under Code Section 17917, you can change your DBA or any of the other information in your original registration by filing an application form with the change and publishing the new information once per week for four weeks, in an approved daily or weekly newspaper in Los Angeles County. A list of the approved newspapers is available on the Los Angeles county clerk website. Just as when you first registered for the name Joe's Music, you fill out the Fictitious Business Name Statement that can be downloaded from the Los Angeles Country county clerk's website or picked up in person.
Abandoning a Former DBA
When you give up your old DBA, Joe's Music, you are required by California code 17922 to file a Statement of Abandonment of Use of Fictitious Business Name. First, obtain the form from the county clerk's office or online. You'll need to complete it and return it to the clerk's office with the appropriate fee. You must publish the Statement of Abadonment once per week for four consecutive weeks. When you give up the old DBA, it becomes available to the public.
When you change your DBA, be sure to search the Los Angeles County list of business names. You don't want your application to be rejected if a Cool Joe's Music store already exists, or if a store with almost the identical name is already in business.
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.