Fictitious Names: Glossary of Terms
A FICTITIOUS NAME is anything other than an individual’s legal name. Registration of that name is required if it is used in business so as to inform the public of who is actually conducting business.
BUSINESS means any enterprise or venture, in which a person sells, buys, exchanges, barters, deals or represents the dealing in anything or article of value, or renders services for compensation.
LEGAL NAME means a person’s given name, or an entity that is properly registered.
Fictitious Names: General Information
A Fictitious Name registration is required of individuals who do business under any name other than their legal personal name or under a properly registered corporate name, partnership, trademark or service mark. The purpose of Chapter 865.09, Florida Statutes, known as the Fictitious Name Act, is to insure a public record of the identity of a fictitious name owner. Registration under this act does not reserve or protect a fictitious name against use by another party, nor does it provide rights to the use of a trade name, trademark, service mark or corporate name. The Division does not screen names submitted for registration against any other recorded information. Applicants may contact the Name Availability Office in the Division to see if the name is already in use. You may also check the telephone directory. The applicant is responsible for avoiding and defending against name infringement. If name protection is your goal, you may want to pursue registering a trademark or service mark if your name meets the requirements of the Florida Statutes. There are also other types of entity registrations you may want to consider. The advice of trusted legal counsel is recommended.
Fictitious name registration packets are available from the Division of Corporations in Tallahassee. Registrations are filed with the Division of Corporations in Tallahassee, not with city or county offices. The fictitious name must be advertised as a legal notice one time in a newspaper in the county where the applicant’s principal place of business will be. No proof of publication is required, instead the applicant certifies that the advertising transpired by signing a statement on the application form. Fictitious name registrations are valid for five years, expiring on December 31 of the fifth year. Renewals may be filed between July 1 and December 31 of the fifth year. If a change of business ownership occurs, the owners must file a cancellation and re-registration within 30 days of the change.
If you do business under a fictitious name and do not file with the Division, you may be subject to certain criminal misdemeanor penalties. You may also be prevented from maintaining a lawsuit, and you may be held liable for attorneys’ fees and costs if someone cannot find you as owner of a fictitious name. All three may apply under some circumstances.
In addition to registering with the State of Florida, companies must also file a registration with the City of Deltona at the following office:
City of Deltona
Customer Service/Occupational Licenses
First Floor, City Hall
2345 Providence Blvd.
Deltona, FL 34725
Fictitious Names: Additional Information
For information on fees, call 850/488-9000; write to the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Corporate Filings, P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314 or check the Division’s website, www.sunbiz.org.