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Registering a Trade Name

A "trade name" is a name an owner uses to identify his/her business and should not be confused with a "trademark" which is used to identify a good or service a business provides.

"Trade names" are not registered at the state or federal level, but are registered with local government, primarily in the county in which a business operates. (O.C.G.A. 10-1-490). If a trade name meets the criteria of a trademark or service mark, however, it also might be eligible for registration as such on a state or federal level.

Registering a business trade name also differs from registering a corporation. Incorporating a business requires an attorney in most cases and are registered with the office of the Secretary of State.

Registering a business trade name involves four easy steps:

  • Verify that the trade name to be registered is not currently in use in Stephens County by consulting the Trade Name books. The Trade Name books contain all of the trade names registered in this county from 1935 to the present. The Clerk's office will be happy to help anyone who does not know how to research a business name.
  • Pick up an "Application to Register a Business to be Conducted Under Trade Name, Partnership or Others" in the office of the Clerk of Court. (Although it has a long name, it is simple and only takes a few minutes to fill out.)
  • After the form is completed and signed in the presence of a notary public, return it to the Clerk of Court, where it will be recorded and a copy given to the applicant. The cost of recording is $157.
  • Take a copy of the application to the legal organ of Stephens County, The Toccoa Record, to be published for two consecutive weeks. The applicant is responsible for making sure this requirement is carried out and for the payment of any fees charged by the newspaper for running the legal advertisement.

Should the business change ownership or the name of the business change, a new and amended registration should be filled out.