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Assumed Names

Assumed Names, or Trade Names of Businesses

If you intend to do business in the State of Texas under a name other than as exactly appears on your Certificate of Formation, you must file an assumed name certificate with the Secretary of State in Austin and also with the County Clerk of each county where you may conduct business. The assumed name certificate may register the name for up to 10 years, but then it must be renewed. Don't expect either the Texas Secretary of State or the County Clerk to remind you of the expiration deadline! You must maintain a reminder system to flag this critical date, or risk a third party creating havoc by "taking" your assumed name (for a 2009 horror story, read what happened to some well known Houston, Texas restaurants, read more> ).

A Warning on Name Protection

Merely organizing a business under a given name does not protect the business from third parties with deceptively similar or identical names or marks. Nor does filing an assumed name certificate protect the business from third parties with deceptively similar or identical names or marks. Special federal and/or state registrations must be immediately filed to protect a business name or mark nationally or locally.

I regularly assist clients in the preparation of assumed name certificates which may be required under applicable Texas law. However, my practice does not include intellectual property law (for example, federal protection of copyrights and trademarks).

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