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A fictitious business name is a legal term that refers to the name under which a business operates and presents itself to the public.

It is also known as “Do Business As,” trade styles, or assumed business names. A fictitious business name is distinct from the legally registered business name.

Companies with fictitious names give no indication of the business that is legally responsible for its operations.

In the US, fictitious business names are often used in conjunction with franchises. The franchisee operates under a legal name but operates its business under the franchise’s brand name.

An example would be a Mc Donald’s franchise with a legal name of “ABC Foods.”

Operating under a fictitious business name gives the company some benefits such as:

• The fictitious business name allows the use of a typical business name without the need for an LLC, corporation or partnership establishment.

• The company can use the fictitious name in its business phone listing, sales advertisements and contracts. It also allows a business to open a bank account and collect payments under the business name. It gives the business legal sanction to represent itself under a fictitious name. The filing process also notifies other companies that the business have used a particular business name for its operations.

• The business may also opt to conduct a single business concern under more than one name without setting up a separate business. This would result in a lot more savings compared to filing and maintaining multiple businesses at a time.

Most US states require businesses that use a fictitious business name for their operations to file a fictitious business name statement for consumer protection purposes.

This also reduces the likelihood that two local businesses would be operating under the same fictitious name.

One thing to remember though is that a fictitious business name statement is not a substitute for getting a trademark.

A fictitious business name statement carries no legal weight where trademarks are necessary.

Filing for a fictitious business name is very easy.

Although each state may have different requirements, generally a fictitious business name filings can be made by businesses or by individuals.

Typically, the following are applicable to a fictitious business name statement:

• Fictitious business name filings contain the name of the applicant, date of filing, the fictitious business name and address for the business.

• A name check to make sure that there is only one business with that name. The applicant must search through a database to make sure that the name has not been used.

• The form has to be filed with a fee ranging from $10 – $50.

• In California, filing for a fictitious business name also requires that a notice of the fictitious name

• Majority of banks also require for a fictitious business name to be registered before they allow transactions.

Filing for a fictitious business name statement is very simple and is an inexpensive process that allows a company to get a host of benefits for minimal costs.

For more help, consult a business attorney for assistance. This article brought to you by the leading magazine for wholesale merchandise, Retailers Forum Magazine. Contact our author at