What is a Fictitious Business Name?

business name

An important aspect of establishing a business is finding the right name under which a given company is to conduct its business.  While some business owners choose to use their own legal name, such as “Jane Smith’s Hair Salon,” others might prefer to use a catchphrase or a term associated with the nature of the business or its product, for example “Jane’s Cuts,” or “Fashion Cuts.”  In the latter case, the business is said to operate under a fictitious business name, which is sometimes also expressed by adding the words “doing business as,” or “d/b/a” to a legal name.  Thus, a fictitious business name is any name other than a person’s given name, under which the person transacts business within the state.

What is the Difference Between Fictitious name and LLC?

It is important to note that a fictitious business name is not the same as an LLC. Entities like trademarks, service marks, corporations, and limited partnerships are legal names. In contrast, the registration of a fictitious business name does not create any exclusive ownership rights, nor does it reserve the name against future use. The requirement that a fictitious business name be registered with the state serves the sole purpose of providing the public with notice of the legal identity of the person or entity behind the fictitious name. In fact, the state will register a fictitious business name regardless of whether another company already does business under the same name.  Therefore it is each registrant’s own responsibility to perform a fictitious name search prior to registration.

Why do I need Fictitious Business name?

So why even go through the trouble of registering a fictitious business name? For starters, a person who conducts business in Florida using an unregistered fictitious name commits a second degree misdemeanor and is subject to penalties. In addition, the business, its members, and interested parties will not be able to sue or maintain any action or proceeding within the state until the name is properly registered. While the business will still be allowed to defend any action or suit, it may be ordered to pay court costs as well as the opposing party’s attorney’s fees.

On the other hand, registration of a fictitious business name with the state is not expensive and can be effected within 24 – 48 hours. The registration costs $50.00 and is valid for five years. Every registration expires on December 31st of the fifth year and must be renewed between July 1st and December 31st of the fifth year by filing a fictitious name renewal, which costs $50.00.  If no renewal is filed the fictitious name expires and cannot be renewed thereafter. Instead, a new registration application would have to be filed. If a change in ownership occurs before the fifth year has begun, new owners must file a cancellation and re-registration within 30 days of the change.

Therefore, anyone who desires to conduct business under a fictitious name should make sure to register such name with the state.  This also requires that the name be advertised at least once in a newspaper published in the county where the business is located.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

Share this post

Eric Gros-Dubois

Founding partner Eric Gros-Dubois established EPGD Business Law in 2013. With over a decade of experience expanding the firm and leading it to its current success, Eric now primarily manages the corporate division of EPGD. Given Eric’s educational background, holding both a JD and MBA, combined with his own unique experience of starting a business from scratch and growing it to a multi-million dollar firm, he brings a specialized and invaluable perspective to those seeking legal assistance for themselves and their businesses. Having now instilled his same values in our team of skilled corporate associates, Eric leads a firm that is always ready, willing, and equipped to handle any and every legal matter that a business owner may have.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.



Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields