What’s in a Name? – Fictitious Business Names in Los Angeles County

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” [Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.]

You worked hard to create a business, which includes creating a marketable name, something people will easily remember. Would the name of that business still sound as sweet, if it were represented by a different name? That’s where a fictitious business name steps in.

What is a Fictitious Business Name?
A fictitious business name is a name other than your legally registered business name that you formally ask permission to use from the County Registrar. Once permission is granted, a business may begin conducting business under the fictitious name. Concept seems familiar, but the term “fictitious” does not? That’s because, colloquially, a fictitious business name is referred to as a dba (Doing Business As), an assumed name, or a trade name. Different names, same sweet sound.

When creating a fictitious name, make sure only to include corporation terms (Corporation, Incorporated, or Inc.) or limited liability company names (LLC) if the actual entity is a corporation or limited liability company. To do otherwise would be misleading, and therefore, unlawful.

Can I Only Have One?
Your business can be associated with multiple fictitious business names, so long as you properly file the names with the County Registrar. For example, you could have Pacific Coast Plumbing, Pacific Coast Contracting, Pacific Jones Flooring all be fictitious business names for your own name. Since each name does cost money to create and maintain, the more is not necessarily merrier, but it is also not prohibited.

Filing for a Fictitious Business Name
Prior to landing on a fictitious business name, a business owner should run a name search to make sure the name is available. The next step is to file the name with the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office. While you can do this yourself, it’s best to have a law firm, like Eskridge Law, handle the filing, publication, and renewal of your fictitious business name.

Need more information?
ESKRIDGE LAW may be contacted by phone (310/303-3951), by fax (310/303-3952) or by email (geskridge@eskridgelaw.net). Please visit our website at eskridge.hv-dev.com.

This article is based on the law as of the date posted at the top of the article. This article does not constitute the provision of legal advice, and does not by itself create an attorney-client relationship with Eskridge Law.