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Question about - FBN and code instructing to state that your business name is "your name dba fictitious business name"

San Luis Obispo, CA |

When in business as a sole proprietor, and you file a fictitious business name statement, do you use the fictitious business name as the name of your business, or do you state the name of your business as "your name dba fictitious business name"?
I'm thinking there's a code that gives instructions to do this.
I read B&P Code sections 17900-17930, and can't find this, but I'm thinking there's a code about this.

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Best Answer

Once you have properly secured a fictitious business name (fbn), you nearly always use that name in connection with your business. However, the necessity of a fbn depends on whether or not you are a sole proprietor, a partnership or a coporation or LLC. In California, while Corporations can operate under their corporate name without securing a fbn, sole proprietors and partnerships must always secure a fbn unless the fictitious business name includes the full names of the all persons involved. The whole purpose of requiring a fbn is to allow people to look up the business at the County level and get information on the owner(s) of the business.


The whole purpose of the fictitious business name is that once you comply with the procedure, you have the option of just using the fictitious business name.

Business and Professions Code 17918 specifies "No person transacting business under a fictitious business name contrary to the provisions of this chapter, or his assignee, may maintain any action upon or on account of any contract made, or transaction had, in the fictitious business name in any court of this state until the fictitious business name statement has been executed, filed, and published as required by this chapter. For the purposes of this section, the failure to comply with subdivision (b) of Section 17917 does not constitute transacting business contrary to the provisions of this chapter.”

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.


As Counselor Chen explained, once you have appropriately filed the FBN statement, you may begin using the FBN in business, without referring first to your own name. You may be confused because often times pleadings in court follow the "your name dba fictitious business name" convention.

To schedule an appointment for an attorney-client privileged consultation, contact me at 530-231-4949. This response is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice. Any information provided is for educational purposes only. The exchange of communications through and similar social media does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me or my office. Thank you.


You usually use the fictitious business name or "dba". You should be aware that just filing a fictitious business name doesn't provide you any personal liability protection as forming a corporation would do.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

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