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Question: In California, if I want to start a new business and plan to do it under the umbrella of an already existing LLC, how can I keep someone else from forming a California corp or LLC with the DBA name? Is trademarking the DBA name the best route?

ANSWER: You cannot stop the California Secretary of State from allowing someone to incorporate with a name that is different from another company incorporated in California. Even if you have a registered trademark, the California Secretary of State allows incorporation under a name as long as it is not identical to another corporate name. You would need to have a California corporation or LLC with the name that is identical to the other’s name to prevent the other from incorporating with the same name.