An assumed business name Oregon search is a way to find a trade name for your business that you can use instead of the legal name, or the business's original name. If you want to start a new business, you must register your assumed business name (ABN) before you can open and start interacting with customers. Whichever city you decide to start your business in will require you to register all ABNs with them.

What ABNs Are Good For

Sole proprietors and general partners often decide to file their ABN as versions of their own name, like “Smith Roofing” instead of John Smith. With an ABN, partners don't have to choose between each other's names, combine their names, or even use their names at all.

Corporations and LLCs can register an ABN that fits with what their business does, like “Helen's Catering” instead of “Helen's Food Service, Inc.” ABNs are common for businesses that want to market a new product or service or simply want to operate under multiple names.

ABNs, also called Doing Business As (DBA) names, allow you:

  • Better visibility
  • Enhanced credibility
  • An easier time opening business bank accounts
  • The ability to use a different name on the Internet

Oregon charges an annual fee of $50, and the name can only be used for the business within Oregon. Some states, like California, file ABNs at the county level.

Usually, a company must use its legal name and designation (Inc. or LLC) when interacting with the public. If they don't, the individual owners could be held responsible for the business's liabilities. An ABN allows a company to not use its legal name and still be safe from possible claims of identity confusion and keep the owners protected.

Website URLs are sometimes scrutinized for not being registered as an ABN, but most jurisdictions don't need them to be registered.

In Oregon, any ABNs must be filed with the Secretary of State Corporation Division. This allows the business to legally open bank accounts, sign contracts, receive payments, and more under that name.

Many states allow for multiple businesses to file the same ABN, in some instances. Business owners can file as many ABNs as they need, because there's no limit.

You'll have to search the Oregon Secretary of State website to see if the ABN you want is available. You should also use the Oregon Business Name Search tool and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office TESS system.

What to Avoid When Choosing an ABN

Names that have nothing to do with your business, purposefully deceive, wrongfully associate the business with government authority, or contain inaccurate designations (Inc. or LLC) should not be used. The registration of an ABN does not automatically give organizations the right to use it. If you register the name in Oregon, and it's the same as a large corporation that has the name trademarked but isn't registered in Oregon, you can still get sued.

How To Register an ABN in Oregon

You can register via mail or fax by printing and filling out the online form.

Make sure everything on the form is correct and that it gets notarized by someone legally authorized to do so. Also, keep a copy for yourself and then send the form to:

Secretary of State
Corporation Division
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 151
Salem, OR 97310-1327

You can also register an ABN directly online:

  1. To get started, click “Register” and “New User Sign Up.”
  2. Fill in the form to sign up with the Oregon Secretary of State Central Business Registry (CBR) system.
  3. Review everything you submitted, then hit continue.
  4. Make sure the Registrant's name is in the signatory section and electronically sign your own name by checking the box labeled “Sign.”
  5. Click “Submit” and “Ok” to agree to the $50 signing fee.
  6. Enter the credit card you want to pay with and click “Next.”
  7. Double-check everything and click “Submit Payment,” which will submit the whole application for registration.
  8. You should get both a payment confirmation and a filing confirmation in your email. If you don't get anything within two hours — either a confirmation email or a notice that something went wrong — you should call Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division at (503) 986-2200.

You can find more information on the Oregon Secretary of State website.

If you need to change anything on the form, you'll have to file an Assumed Business Name – Amendment form.

Each state and local office has its own rules for ABN expiration. If your state requires a renewal, they will send the business a renewal notice.

If you need help with choosing an appropriate assumed business name, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.