I am a single-person LLC through which I have been providing Marketing & Website Management Services. I am now starting to offer web design services and have created a website under a more marketable name. For example (not real, for illustration only): Business name is "Joleen, LLC" and new website is "www.AwesomeWebsites.com". Any guidance is greatly appreciated.
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
The general rule is that if you're doing business as -- i.e., holding your company out as and actually engaging in business as -- a company name that is not the name which you registered with the Secretary of State, then you're obligated to comply with the fictitious business name statute.
If the domain name for your website is the only place where you're using the new name then, no, you do not need to comply with the fictitious business name statute.
But if you're referring to your company as this new name [answering the phones using the new name or using it for email purposes (even if you're still using the old name as well)] then, yes, you need to comply the fictitious business name statute.
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The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.
Fictitious name is for foreign business seekig to qualify in a state where someone else already has the legal name in the state of destination. You want a d/b/a for an entity already in the state which is a different approach. In NY where I practice is done county by county basis....not sure how done in FL where you are. Look at the secretary of state website and focus on how to register a DNA for a domestic company....am hare you will find an answer.
My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.
If you have solely registered a domain under a different name then your registered corporate name, then no. However, if you are doing business under that name, then yes. Thus, if your website, by means of your example, has content displaying the name of your company as, Awesome Websites, and your corporation is Joleen, LLC, then you are required by law to file the fictitious name with the department of state. It really depends upon what you are representing as your company's name. The purpose of the d/b/a registration is so that the general public knows how to identify the company by its registration with the department of state. The law can be so technical that if you use your corporate name, but drop the corporate designation, i.e. inc., incorporated, corp, etc., then you have to register that name as a fictitous name. Registering fictitious names with the Department of State can be done through sunbiz.org, or you can retain an attorney or a company that performs incorporations or organizations to register the name. It is a simple and straight forward process. Similarly to corporations and organizations, you will have to renew the fictitious name, but at a lessor frequency than annually, as you do with corporations and organizations for the latter.
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