What is a “Fictitious Name”?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "fiction" as "something invented by the imagination or feigned." In the business world, a fictitious name is a way of distinguishing a company or activity with a name other than that of its owner or that of its constitution. The Florida Statutes regulate what is related to fictitious names in its Chapter 865, paragraph 865.09.

The most important advantages of using a fictitious name are the following:

  • It allows a natural person to easily register their business name to open a bank account and receive payments under that name;
  • Allows a corporation, limited liability company, or any other legal business entity to operate multiple businesses under different names without forming a separate business entity for each;
  • The registration is valid for five years.
  • The five-year royalty amount is only $50.

Some disadvantages, on the other hand, are the following:

  • The registration of the fictitious name does not give the user protection against the use of third parties;
  • It does not give you any intellectual property rights;
  • Does not reserve the name;
  • It does not grant rights to the use of the name;
  • It does not prevent another party from using the name;
  • More than one person or company can register the same fictitious name.

The sole purpose of a fictitious name registration is to inform the public that an individual or business entity is doing business under a certain business name.

In Florida, for a natural or legal person to be authorized to use a fictitious name, they must register it with the Division of Corporations of the Florida Department of State. A fictitious name registration is not required if the applicant is:

  • A practicing attorney;
  • A person or entity registered by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Department of Health whose statutes do not require the obligation to register a fictitious name;
  • A corporation, limited liability company, or partnership duly registered with the Division of Corporations and not doing business under any other name.
  • A federal corporation that conducts business only under its charter name.

To register a fictitious name, the user must complete the registration form before the Division of Corporations and pay a $50 processing fee. Processing can be done by regular mail, (PO Box 1300, Tallahassee, FL 32302) or by using the Division of Corporations website sunbiz.org where it is possible to fill out the form and make payments by credit or debit cards, online.

It is important to note that the fictitious name certification, to be legally effective, must be advertised at least once in a newspaper in the county where the applicant's principal place of business will be located. To open or change a bank account with the new fictitious name, the user must deposit in the bank the impression of the registration that appears on the site sunbiz.org and the affidavit of the publisher of the newspaper where the publication was made.
Author: Alfredo Gonzalez I    www.negociosenflorida.com

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