Trade Name / Franchise Name

Trade Name: A trade name is a name assumed to identify the business or activities of an individual or organization and which does not include in the name:

  1. The true name of the organization using the business name; (e.g., not the exact corporate or limited liability company name)
  2. The first name and surname of each individual using the business name; or
  3. The surname of each individual, repeating a surname if more than one owner has the same surname. (e.g. a business owned by three Johnson brothers would need to be identified as Johnson, Johnson & Johnson ________.)

A name assumed under subparagraph 3, or a name of an organization or association not otherwise registered with the Secretary of State requires registration as a trade name if a license or permit to conduct business or operations is required by the State of North Dakota.

The registration of the trade name:

  • Affords exclusive right to that name in the State of North Dakota. No other business may file a name with the Secretary of State that is the same as, or deceptively similar, to any registered name.
  • Establishes a public record from which the name of the owner of the business can be identified.

If the ownership of a business name changes during the five-year registration period, the ownership of the trade name is assignable to the new owner. The Trade Name Assignment does not extend the registration period of a trade name, but rather affords ownership to the new owner for the remainder of the registration period.

Franchise Name: A franchise name is a name to which an independent operator has secured the rights from a franchiser or licensor to use and distribute products or services, techniques, and trademarks for a percentage of sales or royalty fees. Franchise agreements often convey additional support services, advertising and training from the franchiser or licensor.

Franchise Name Disclosure: An individual or organization that is a franchisee does not usually gain ownership to the franchise name and could therefore not file a Trade Name Registration. However, a franchisee must file Franchise Name Disclosure information with the Secretary of State before using the franchise name in the State of North Dakota. The Franchise Name Disclosure is made on the same form used for filing a Trade Name Registration The filing of the disclosure information does not extend any trade name protection provided by N.D.C.C., chapter 47-25.



Forms to submit filings and update information are now available on FirstStop, the Secretary of State’s new online filing system.