No, not always. A general partnership could bear the actual names of the partners and not need a fictitious business name, e.g. SMITH, JONES, AND BROWN PARTNERSHIP.
The purpose of the fictitious business name statute, codified under California Business and Professions Code section 17900 (a)(1) is explained as follows::
" The purpose of this section is to protect those
dealing with individuals or partnerships doing business under
fictitious names, and it is not intended to confer any right or
advantage on individuals or firms that fail to comply with the law.
The filing of a fictitious business name certificate is designed to
make available to the public the identities of persons doing business
under the fictitious name."
With respect to general partnerships, California Business and Professions Code section 17900(b)(2), "fictitious business name" means:
(2) In the case of a partnership or other association of persons,
other than a limited partnership that has filed a certificate of
limited partnership with the California Secretary of State pursuant
to Section 15621 or 15902.01 of the Corporations Code, a foreign
limited partnership that has filed an application for registration
with the California Secretary of State pursuant to Section 15692 or
15909.02 of the Corporations Code, a registered limited liability
partnership that has filed a registration pursuant to Section 15049
or 16953 of the Corporations Code, or a foreign limited liability
partnership that has filed an application for registration pursuant
to Section 15055 or 16959 of the Corporations Code, a name that does
not include the surname of each general partner or a name that
suggests the existence of additional owners, as described in
subdivision (c) and in Section 17901."
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
This is NOT legal advice, just a general discussion of the law, as we are not familiar with the specific documents and facts of your case, etc.
Please consult with a competent attorney in this area of the law for specific legal advice regarding your particular case, as the advice may vary depending on the facts.