Starting a business in Los Angeles is full of promise and potential, but it can be daunting for entrepreneurs unfamiliar with the legal side of the process. One key component of setting up shop in Los Angeles is picking a “Fictitious Business Name” (FBN). A FBN serves the purpose of differentiating your business from others, which allows your customers to locate and identify your brand quickly.

In California, the process of registering a FBN requires several important steps. Knowing what to consider when deciding on an FBN can save you a lot of time, energy, and money while giving your business the foundation it needs to succeed. Let’s look at the top five considerations for choosing a FBN in the City of Angels.

1. Check to Ensure the Name is Available

The first step in choosing a FBN is making sure that your desired name is still available. Names that are typically not permitted for use as a FBN include any that contain obscene or offensive language, imply false statements, or infringe on existing trademarks. To determine if a name is available, you need to search records at the Los Angeles County Clerk’s office. If your desired name is available, you can then submit an application to the Clerk’s office.

2. Research Existing Businesses with Your Desired Name

Simply because a name is available to register as a FBN doesn’t mean you should use it for your own business and brand. Before registering and using the name, you should research any other businesses in the Los Angeles area with the same or similar names, or those that also share the same products or services.

A similar sounding name or logo could lead to confusion among customers, so it’s important to make sure you’re in the clear before you make a final decision. Even if another business isn’t operating in the same space as you, or doesn’t have a federally registered trademark, it’s important to double-check so you don’t run into any potential legal issues in the future.

3. Ensure that You’re in Compliance with Local Rules and Regulations

Creating a FBN in Los Angeles also means being in compliance with local rules and regulations. Every business structure (corporation, LLC, partnership, etc.) has its own set of rules and regulations, so it’s important to make sure you understand how these apply to your particular situation. Without a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations, you run the risk of getting fined or having to change your name later down the line.

4. Make Sure You Have the Right Documented Proof

When picking a FBN, you’ll also need to provide some form of documentation that proves the name you want matches the business structure you’ve chosen. This means providing paperwork related to your business such as the articles of incorporation, partnership agreement, or LLC formation. It’s important to make sure that all of your documents are in order before you submit your application to the county clerk.

5. Consider Consulting Legal Experts

As with any legal process, it’s always a smart idea to get professional advice and expertise to ensure you’re making the right decision. Consulting a lawyer with experience handling business matters in Los Angeles can be invaluable for understanding the local rules and regulations, as well as to ensure you’re complying with them.

The services offered by UpCounsel can be a great resource for any business owners who are setting up shop in Los Angeles. With UpCounsel’s network of experienced attorneys, they can provide a one-time consultation or become an entire virtual legal department for your business. Their community of attorneys has a wealth of experience that can ensure you don’t miss any important checkpoints and make sure you get your business off to the right start.

Topics: Fictitious Business Name, Los Angeles, Legal Services, UpCounsel.