ContractsCounsel Logo

Fictitious Business Name

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 7,473 reviews
Home Blog Fictitious Business Name

Jump to Section

A fictitious business name, also called DBA or Trade Name, is a name under which a business operates that differs from its legal name or the owner's name. For branding, marketing, and other reasons, it enables firms to function and transact using a new name, preserving the company's legal identity and ownership and obtaining formal permission from the state (or county) to use when doing business. In the blog below, we will understand several aspects of a fictitious business name.

Tips for Registering a Fictitious Business Name

Below are the tips one should follow to register a fictitious business name:

  • States require fictitious names to notify the public about the true owner of a firm and protect consumers from dodgy entities. Instead of being confined to personal names, it enables businesses, particularly sole proprietorships, and partnerships, to employ imaginative and engaging names for marketing purposes.
  • Registering with the state or county is necessary to legally use a fictitious business name. However, setting up an LLC or corporation offers greater liability protection than using a fictional business name. The name can still identify the original legal entity and its owners.
  • Before registering a fictitious name, you should take the following into account: you should pick a name that fits the desired brand image, is simple to pronounce and remember, and steer clear of any references that could be construed as derogatory or contentious. It's also advised to look up the name to ensure it hasn't already been registered and to consider trademark protection.
  • To register a fictitious business name, you must submit the necessary forms, pay the filing fee, and adhere to the state's or county's particular rules. Regulation-specific renewal times exist.
  • To confirm the company's authenticity, banks may request a copy of the Fictitious Business Name (FBN) statement before opening a business account.
  • Begin brainstorming ideas and concepts related to the fictional name's goal. Aim for names that are two or three words long. Shorter names are easier to recall and can be more successfully incorporated into logos and advertising designs.
  • Look for names that allow for puns. Wordplay can be an effective strategy in advertising, retailing, and generating referrals. A name allowing creative wordplay might open the door to various marketing ploys and methods.
  • Keep the name as concise as possible. Use fewer words or more complicated spelling variations to avoid confusing readers or potential consumers. Selecting a name that is simple to grasp and does not necessitate explanations or apologies is essential.
  • Thoroughly check domain registries, county clerk's offices, and the US Patent and Trademark Office to guarantee that the chosen name is available without restrictions. Research thoroughly to ensure that no other company currently uses the name you want to use for branding or trademark registration.
  • These include registering a DBA (Doing Business As) under the name "Elite Consulting" for a consulting firm and utilizing a generic business name like "Lester, Johnson & Rivers, LLC." This makes it simple for potential customers to understand the services offered.

If you follow these steps, you can make an informed selection when selecting a business name that corresponds with your company's aims and resonates with your target audience.

Benefits of a Fictitious Business Name

Using a DBA for your company has numerous advantages. However, it's important to remember that a DBA does not entirely replace the advantages of operating as a legitimate corporate entity. However, a DBA may support the expansion and success of your company when utilized in conjunction with your legal framework.

  • Officializes Your Business Name: DBAs can enhance the legitimacy of your company, particularly for solitary proprietors who don't wish to utilize their name. It gives you a name you can use to market your company while also assisting in separating you from it.
  • Expands Your Business: Say you run flower businesses in Wyoming and Minnesota. Customers in those states should be advertised to inform them where and how to find your services. As a result, the term "Blooms by Barb" can be applied to both "Blooms by Barb - Minnesota" and "Blooms by Barb - Wyoming" enterprises.
  • Hyper-Localization Causes: If you run your business from various locations within your state, you can use a DBA to give each location its identity since many DBAs are filed at the county level. It is an excellent choice for physical stores that wish to play an active role in their neighborhoods.
  • LLC Liability Protection: Even if you've previously established an LLC, you can use a DBA to run your business under many names. In this manner, you can still use your LLC's liability protection while marketing each individual’s name.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

James H.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Janelle L.

1 project on CC
View Profile

Justin K.

27 projects on CC
View Profile

Scott S.

40 projects on CC
View Profile

Disadvantages of a Fictitious Business Name

When a DBA is utilized in place of an LLC or any other legal business structure, it mostly has disadvantages. Ensure you have a legal entity before submitting a DBA to prevent these dangers, as DBAs and legal formation are not mutually exclusive.

  • Absence of Naming Right: Using a DBA does not grant you legal ownership of your company name. Anyone registering a legitimate business entity can use your DBA name if you haven't incorporated a firm and given it that name. Registering a trademark for your company name is the best safeguard for protecting your brand identity and preventing others from using a similar name in the marketplace.
  • Lack of Legal Protection: A DBA does not afford the same limited liability protections or legal safeguards as an LLC or another type of company structure. You lack the "corporate shield" that shields your assets from business responsibilities and the other tax advantages of creating a formal business entity.

Key Terms for Fictitious Business Names

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): A hybrid business form that combines the limited liability protection of a corporation with the flexibility and tax benefits of a partnership.
  • Public Record: Relevant documentation and information about a fictitious business name that is accessible and available for public inspection.
  • Corporation: A legal entity distinct from its owners (stockholders) that protects shareholders with limited liability.
  • Legal Entity: An organization or entity recognized as a separate legal unit from its owners or members.
  • Assumed Name: It is another term for a fictitious business name, indicating that it is not the legal or actual name of the entity.
  • Compliance: This term determines the adherence to the legal requirements and regulations for registering and using a fictitious business name.
  • Renewal: It refers to extending the validity of a fictitious business name registration after a certain period

Final Thoughts on Fictitious Business Names

A fictitious business name allows a business to operate legally under an assumed name. One of the most lucrative benefits of registering a fictitious name is that it allows you to expand the business and connect with the target audience. However, registering a fictitious business name doesn’t create a separate legal entity or stop it from facing liability. People can increase their brand awareness, establish credibility, and adhere to legal requirements by obtaining a fictitious business name, which will ultimately allow them to conduct business efficiently and transparently in the competitive American market.

If you want free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Scott S. on ContractsCounsel
View Scott
5.0 (26)
Member Since:
October 27, 2021

Scott S.

Free Consultation
New York, NY
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Benjamin Cardozo School of Law

Scott graduated from Cardozo Law School and also has an English degree from Penn. His practice focuses on business law and contracts, with an emphasis on commercial transactions and negotiations, document drafting and review, employment, business formation, e-commerce, technology, healthcare, privacy, data security and compliance. While he's worked with large, established companies, he particularly enjoys collaborating with startups. Prior to starting his own practice in 2011, Scott worked in-house for over 5 years with businesses large and small. He also handles real estate leases, website and app Terms of Service and privacy policies, and pre- and post-nup agreements.

Gamal H. on ContractsCounsel
View Gamal
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
October 31, 2021

Gamal H.

Free Consultation
New York City
25 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
New York Law School

I am a commercial contracts attorney with twenty years of experience. I have represented major corporate clients including Amazon, Marvel, and Viacom as well as independent entertainment professionals and technology startups.

Ralph S. on ContractsCounsel
View Ralph
5.0 (4)
Member Since:
October 31, 2021

Ralph S.

Free Consultation
Gainesville FL
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, FL, MA
University of Florida Levin College of Law

Ralph graduated from University of Florida with his JD as well as an LLM in Comparative Law. He has a Master's in Law from Warsaw University , Poland (summa cum laude) and holds a diploma in English and European Law from Cambridge Board of Continuous Education. Ralph concentrates on business entity formation, both for profit and non profit and was trained in legal drafting. In his practice he primarily assists small to medium sized startups and writes tailor made contracts as he runs one of Florida disability non profits at the same time. T l Licensed. in Florida Massachusetts and Washington DC this attorney speaks Polish.

Oscar B. on ContractsCounsel
View Oscar
Member Since:
October 28, 2021

Oscar B.

Free Consultation
Saint Petersburg, FL
21 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Stetson University, College of Law

Oscar is a St. Petersburg native. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Stetson University, College of Law. A former US Army Judge Advocate, Oscar has more than 20 years of experience in Estate Planning, Real Estate, Small Business, Probate, and Asset Protection law. A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, and a second-generation Gator, he received a B.A. from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Stetson University’s College of Law. Oscar began working in real estate sales in 1994 prior to attending law school. He continued in real estate, small business law, and Asset Protection as an associate attorney with the firm on Bush, Ross, Gardner, Warren, & Rudy in 2002 before leaving to open his own practice. Oscar also held the position of Sales & Marketing Director for Ballast Point Homes separately from his law practice. He is also a licensed real estate broker and owner of a boutique real estate brokerage. As a captain in the US Army JAG Corps, he served as a Judge Advocate in the 3rd Infantry Division and then as Chief of Client Services, Schweinfurt, Germany, and Chief of Criminal Justice for the 200th MP Command, Ft. Meade, Maryland. He is a certified VA attorney representative and an active member of VARep, an organization of real estate and legal professionals dedicated to representing and educating veterans. Oscar focuses his practice on real small business and asset protection law.

Rachael D. on ContractsCounsel
View Rachael
Member Since:
October 28, 2021

Rachael D.

Free Consultation
New York
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Touro Law

We help simplify every transaction and provide a superior level of customer service to create long lasting and trusted relationships with our clients. Our goal is to guide our clients with practical and zealous legal representation and eliminate the difficult nature of any legal transaction.

Yoann E. A. L. on ContractsCounsel
View Yoann E. A.
Member Since:
October 29, 2021

Yoann E. A. L.

Free Consultation
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Concord Law School at Purdue University Global

For over 15 years, I accumulated both hands-on technical and business experience as an IT engineer and entrepreneur, enabling me to understand your challenges probably better than anyone else on the legal market! My California-based full-online practice focuses on: - Intellectual Property (Copyright / Trademarks) - Privacy / Data Protection - Commercial matters (e.g. service contracts) - Corporate (e.g. incorporation, restructuring)

Melanie C. on ContractsCounsel
View Melanie
Member Since:
October 31, 2021

Melanie C.

Business & Intellectual Property Attorney
Free Consultation
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
Emory University School of Law

Melanie Cunningham specializes in helping entrepreneurs remain creative and expansive by establishing the foundation of their business and protecting and maximizing their intellectual property. It’s her belief that entrepreneurs and micro and small business owners play a critical role in our communities, which propelled Melanie to return to private practice after more than a decade working for global financial institutions. Melanie’s practice is dedicated to delivering excellent legal support and protection to this vital, but an often underserved, community. Melanie credits her business training and the skills developed as a senior compliance officer with enabling her to help small business owners have a legally compliant business, while proactively advising clients during the growth process. She’s helped diverse entrepreneurs do business in a way that focuses more on collaboration than competition. Melanie has counseled small business owners in determining what is protection worthy (helping them obtain trademarks and copyrights) and making contact on their behalf in the case of infringement.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now
Learn About Contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

Need help registering a business?

Create a free project posting

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city