Fictitious Business Names
A Fictitious Business Name Statement allows you to "do business as (DBA)" something other than your name - called an Assumed Business Name statement in Illinois and a Business Certificate in Massachusetts - Letting the public know that you are "Doing Business As" someone other than yourself, which allows creditors to know who is liable for the activities of the business.
The Statement or Certificate must be filed within 30-40 days of your first business transaction, but the filing of a Fictitious Business does not guarantee exclusive use of that name.
Most counties in California, if you are doing business under a business name that contains your legal name (or the surnames of all owners) as part of the business name, you are not be required to file a Fictitious Business Statement. For example, if your name is Tony Soprano and you plan to conduct all your business in California as Tony Soprano, Company, you will not need to file a Fictitious Business Name. If, however, you plan to refer to your business as Rob'em & Cheat'em, Co, you will need to file a DBA. All other individuals and any partnership, LLC or corporation who does business in a name other than their formal company name, must file a Fictitious Business Name statement.
Before you file your company name, you should conduct a search of previously filed Fictitious Business Names to ensure that the name you want is available. Please note that registering a trademark or copyright for your name or logo is a another matter altogether.
Within 30 - 40 days of recording your DBA name, you will need to publish it in local papers.