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Frequently Asked Questions

Who must file a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement and why?

In the case of a business owned by an individual, a "fictitious business name" is any name that does not include the last name (surname) of the owner, or which implies additional owners (such as "Company," "and Company," "and Sons," "Associates," etc.)


  • "Will Smith Catering" is not a Fictitious Business Name.
  • "Smith and Company Catering" is a Fictitious Business Name.

In the case of a corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership, a fictitious business name is any name other than the exact name that is on record with the Secretary of the State’s Office.

California law requires that FBN’s are filed at the County level; there is no State-wide registry or national registry.

Show All Answers

1. Who must file a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Statement and why?
2. Can I use a P.O. Box for an address?
3. How do I go about filing an FBN statement?
4. Can I come in and file for someone else?
5. What happens if I don’t publish in an adjudicated newspaper of general publication?
6. Can I make changes to my FBN after I file?
7. Is this where I get my business license?
8. Does filing my Fictitious Business Name Statement prevent anyone else from using the business name I've registered?