Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I-C. Trade Names.


§ 47–2855.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter:

(1) “Business” means business as defined in § 47-2851.01(1) [now § 47-2851.01(1B)].

(2) “Department” means the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

(3) “Director” means the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

(4)(A) “Entity” means:

(i) A business corporation;

(ii) A nonprofit corporation;

(iii) A general partnership, including a limited liability partnership;

(iv) A limited partnership, including a limited liability limited partnership;

(v) A limited liability company;

(vi) A general cooperative association;

(vii) A limited cooperative association;

(viii) An unincorporated nonprofit association;

(ix) A statutory trust, business trust, or common-law business trust; or

(x) Any other person that has a legal existence separate from any interest holder of that person or the power to acquire an interest in real property in its own name.

(B) The term “entity” does not include:

(i) An individual;

(ii) A testamentary or inter vivos trust with a predominately donative purpose, or a charitable trust;

(iii) An association or relationship that is not a partnership under the rules set forth in § 29-602.02(c) or a similar provision of the law of another jurisdiction;

(iv) A decedent’s estate; or

(v) A government or a governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality.

(5) “Executed” means the signing of a document by a person under penalties of perjury and in an official and authorized capacity on behalf of the person submitting the document to the Department.

(6) “Person” means an individual, estate, business or nonprofit entity, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal entity.

(7) “Trade name” means a word or name, or any combination of a word or name, used by a person to identify the person’s business which:

(A) Is not, or does not include, the true and real name of all persons conducting the business; or

(B) Includes words which suggest additional parties of interest such as “company”, “and sons”, or “and associates”.

(8) “True and real name” means:

(A) The surname of an individual coupled with one or more of the individual’s other names, one or more of the individual’s initials, or any combination thereof;

(B) The designation or appellation by which an individual is best known and called in the business community where that individual transacts business, if this is used as that individual’s legal signature;

(C) The registered corporate name of a domestic corporation as filed with the Mayor;

(D) The registered company name of a domestic and foreign limited liability company as filed by the Mayor;

(E) The registered partnership name of a domestic limited partnership as filed with the Mayor;

(F) The registered partnership name of a domestic and foreign limited liability partnership as filed by the Mayor;

(G) The name of a general partnership which includes in its name the true and real names, as defined in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of this paragraph, of each general partner as required in § 47-2855.03;

(H) The registered name of a domestic and foreign statutory trust as filed by the Mayor;

(I) The registered name of a domestic and foreign limited cooperative association as filed by the Mayor; or

(J) The registered name of a domestic and foreign general cooperative association as filed by the Mayor.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2005(b), 46 DCR 3142; Mar. 5, 2013, D.C. Law 19-210, § 4(b), 59 DCR 13171.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2855.1.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-210 rewrote the section.

Short Title

Short title of title II of Law 12-261: Section 2001 of D.C. Law 12-261 provided that title II of the act may be cited as the “Business Regulatory Reform Act of 1998.”

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 19-210: Section 7 of D.C. Law 19-210 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2012.


§ 47–2855.02. Registration required.

(a) A person who carries on, conducts, or transacts business in the District of Columbia under any trade name shall register that trade name with the Department as follows:

(1) A sole proprietorship or general partnership shall register by setting forth the true and real name or names of each person comprising the sole proprietorship or general partnership, the post office address or addresses of each person, and the name of the general partnership, if applicable.

(2) A foreign or domestic limited partnership shall register by setting forth the limited partnership name as filed with the Mayor.

(3) A foreign or domestic limited liability company shall register by setting forth the limited liability company name as filed with the Mayor.

(4) A foreign or domestic for-profit or nonprofit corporation shall register by setting forth the corporate name as filed with the Mayor.

(5) A domestic or foreign statutory trust shall register by setting forth the statutory trust name as filed by the Mayor.

(6) A domestic or foreign limited cooperative association shall register by setting forth the association name as filed by the Mayor.

(7) A domestic or foreign general cooperative association shall register by setting forth the association name as filed by the Mayor.

(8) A domestic or foreign limited liability partnership shall register by setting forth the partnership name as filed by the Mayor.

(b) The trade name application shall contain the following information:

(1) The name of the person applying for the trade name;

(2) The name of proposed trade name;

(3) Name and address of the governor of the entity; and

(4) The name and address of the registered agent if person is located outside the District of Columbia.

(c) The trade name application shall be executed by:

(1) The sole proprietor of a sole proprietorship; or

(2) The governor of the entity or authorized person on behalf of the governor.

(d) The trade name shall be distinguishable on the records of the Mayor from any:

(1) Name of domestic or foreign filing entity as defined by Title 29.

(2) Name that is reserved under § 29-103.03;

(3) Name that is registered under § 29-103.04;

(4) Another trade name registered under this chapter; or

(5) The name of an agency or instrumentality of the United States or District of Columbia or another state or a subdivision thereof.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2005(b), 46 DCR 3142; Mar. 5, 2013, D.C. Law 19-210, § 4(c), 59 DCR 13171.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2855.2.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-210 rewrote the section.

Short Title

Short title of title II of Law 12-261: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 47-2855.01.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 19-210: Section 7 of D.C. Law 19-210 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2012.


§ 47–2855.03. Changes in registration; filing amendment.

(a) An executed amendment to a registration shall be filed with the Department when a change occurs in any of the following:

(1) The true and real name of a person conducting a business with a trade name registered under this subchapter;

(2) The mailing address set forth on the trade name application or on a subsequently filed amendment; or

(3) The registered agent’s information set forth on the application.

(b) A notice of cancellation shall be filed with the Department when use of a trade name is discontinued.

(c) A notice of cancellation, together with a new registration, shall be filed before conducting or transacting any business when:

(1) An addition, deletion, or any change of person or persons conducting business under the registered trade name occurs; or

(2) There is a change in the wording or spelling of the trade name.

(d) No person carrying on, conducting, or transacting business under any trade name shall be entitled to maintain any suit in any of the courts of the District of Columbia until the person has properly completed the registration as provided for in this section.

(e) Failure to complete this registration shall not impair the validity of any contract or act of such person or persons and shall not prevent such person or persons from defending any suit in any court of the District.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2005(b), 46 DCR 3142; Mar. 5, 2013, D.C. Law 19-210, § 4(d), 59 DCR 13171.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2855.3.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 47-2855.01.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-210 substituted “trade name application” for “registration” in (a)(2); added (a)(3); and made related changes.

Short Title

Short title of title II of Law 12-261: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 47-2855.01.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 19-210: Section 7 of D.C. Law 19-210 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2012.


§ 47–2855.04. Rules; fees.

(a) The Mayor shall adopt rules as necessary to administer this subchapter. The rules may include the specifying of forms and the setting of fees for trade name registrations, amendments, searches, renewals, and copies of registration documents.

(b) Fees set pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall not exceed the actual cost of administering this title [subchapter]; provided, that

(1) For expedited same-day service, there shall be a fee of $100 in addition to other fees required by statute or rule;

(2) For expedited 3-day service, there shall be a fee of $50 in addition to other fees required by statute or rule.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2005(b), 46 DCR 3142; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-111, § 2041(d), 57 DCR 181.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2855.4.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-111 rewrote the section, which had read as follows: “The Mayor shall adopt rules as necessary to administer this subchapter. The rules may include the specifying of forms and the setting of fees for trade name registrations, amendments, searches, renewals, and copies of registration documents. Fees shall not exceed the actual cost of administering this subchapter.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2041(d) of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Second Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-207, October 15, 2009, 56 DCR 8234).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2041(d) of Fiscal Year Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-260, January 4, 2010, 57 DCR 345).

Short Title

Short title of title II of Law 12-261: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 47-2855.01.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Rulemaking Authority Pursuant to DC Law 12-261, the Business Regulatory Reform Act of 1998, see Mayor’s Order 2001-123, August 9, 2001 ( 48 DCR 7814).


§ 47–2855.05. Collection and deposit of fees.

All fees collected by the Department under this subchapter shall be deposited with the D.C. treasurer and credited to the Corporate Recordation Fund (“Fund”) as defined in § 29-102.13.


(Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2005(b), 46 DCR 3142; Mar. 5, 2013, D.C. Law 19-210, § 4(e), 59 DCR 13171.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2855.5.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-210 substituted “Corporate Recordation Fund (“Fund”) as defined in § 29-102.13” for “master business license fund as defined in § 47-2851.13.”

Short Title

Short title of title II of Law 12-261: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 47-2855.01.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 19-210: Section 7 of D.C. Law 19-210 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2012.