When you’re starting a business, the process of selecting and registering a name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. It’s also one of the most legally complex, especially if you’re looking to select a Fictitious Business Name (FBN). Individuals who are based in Los Angeles are particularly vulnerable to legal complexities, and thus need to be extra vigilant when selecting an FBN.

This article is designed to guide business lawyers based in Los Angeles through the process. We’ll cover the legal aspects of FBN registration, the risks involved, and strategies for streamlining the process.

What is a Fictitious Business Name?

Fictitious Business Names are also commonly referred to as Assumed Business Names and Doing Business As (DBA) names. They represent the ‘real’ names that a business operates under, as opposed to its legally registered name. Business owners might adopt a FBN if their business name does not make it clear why they are selling a product or service. For example, if a company offers dog-walking services, they may choose to officially register as ‘Canine Comfort Pet Services’ instead of ‘John Doe’ or ‘Jane Smith’.

Why are FBNs popular in Los Angeles?

One of the main reasons why FBNs are particularly popular in Los Angeles is that California has a range of labor laws that specifically apply to the state. These laws are designed to protect employees, and vetoed the acceptance of certain job titles. For instance, certain titles - such as professional referral service or talent referral service - are banned and therefore require local businesses to use a FBN instead. Business lawyers based in Los Angeles should counsel their clients to be aware of such regulations.

Legal Requirements for Fictitious Business Names in California

Registration of a FBN is typically more complex in California than in many other states. It all begins with filing the Fictitious Business Certificate, which must contain:

the name of the business and address, as registered

the principal place of business

the name, address, and occupation of each owner of the business

the signature of each owner or their authorized agent representing them

the address of the owner or their authorized agent

These requirements vary from county to county, so Los Angeles-based lawyers should be aware of the specific regulations in their area.

Applying for an FBN

Once all the necessary paperwork is prepared, the next step is to file an FBN application with the county clerk in the county where the business is located. California assigns an index number to the name, which must be included in all advertisements and other forms of publicity. The applicant must also pay all applicable filing fees when submitting the application. The whole process can take several weeks, so it’s important to plan ahead.

Tips for Successfully Registering an Fictitious Business Name

In order to ensure a seamless process, Los Angeles-based business lawyers should consider the following tips:

Conduct thorough research to check for any available trademarks.

Ensure that any words or terms used in the FBN are not misleading or contradictory to the services offered.

Be aware of the county-specific regulations and ensure that the paperwork is completed accurately.

Make sure that the FBN meets all state and federal requirements.

Allow ample time for the registration process.

The main takeaway

Fictitious Business Names can be an important - and complex - step in the business formation process. Business lawyers based in Los Angeles need to keep up with the latest county-specific requirements, as well as checking for any available trademarks. With the right advice and preparation, it’s possible to make the process more efficient while protecting the interests of all parties involved.


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Business Lawyers