Must I comply with fictitious name statute?


A Fictitious Name Registration is required of individuals who do business under any name other than either their legal personal name or a properly registered corporate name, partnership, trademark, service mark or limited liability company. The purpose of Chapter 865.09, Florida Statutes, known as the Fictitious Name Act, is to insure a public record of the identity of a fictitious name owner. Registration under this act does not reserve or protect a fictitious name against use by another party, nor does it provide rights to the use of a trade name, trademark, service mark or corporate name. The Division does not screen names submitted for registration against any other recorded information. Applicants may check the Division’s website to see if the name is already in use. You may also check your local telephone directory. The applicant is responsible for avoiding and defending against name infringement. If name protection is your goal, you may want to pursue registering a trademark or service mark if your name meets the requirements of the Florida Statutes. There are also other types of entity registrations you may want to consider.


Gary: Yes, sir. I've been a sole proprietor for about 20 years now and I did file for fictitious name originally. Although I planned on staying in business many more years, it's time for renewal. If I don't renew that, what is the consequences? What could the consequences be, other than taking away that legal name?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Practically, none, Gary. What we're saying is that Gary, if you were somebody else or doing business anywhere, you're not a corporate, you're not an LLC, because you're incorporating LLC, you do not need to comply with fictitious name statute. If you're not a corporation, LLC, you're doing business and your last name is contained in that business, you do not need to comply with fictitious name statute.

However, if you just made up a random name of a business, like ABC fruit company, then you are required to comply with the fictitious name statute. What it says, Gary, is that if you don't comply with the fictitious name statute and somebody sues you, you cannot defend yourself until you comply with the fictitious name statute. In fact, there's no teeth to it, there's no penalty for not doing it, Gary.

Gary: Then we won't send them the check and I'll be 50 dollars richer.