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Fictitious Business Names

Fictitious Business Name Statements

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A Fictitious Business Name is a legal term often abbreviated as DBA or dba meaning "Doing Business As." A DBA is a trade name under which a business is conducted and presented to the public when the business would prefer not to use its legal name.

In California, a business wanting to use a DBA must file a statement with the County Clerk in the county where the business has its principal place of business and must also publish the statement in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the statement was filed. Every California county has a website that includes instructions and forms.

There are many reasons, business firms file Fictitious Business Name Statements. Following is an example:

The ABC Real Estate Corporation is a diversified firm with several divisions that market their services to different groups. In order to avoid confusion, they create several DBAs and separate marketing materials for each division.

ABC Real Estate Corporation creates the following DBAs:


ABC Realtors
ABC Commercial Properties
ABC Mortgage Lending
ABC Property Management

When a prospective client receives advertising material from ABC Property Management, the material makes it clear that ABC Property Management is a dba for ABC Real Estate Corporation but does not confuse the prospect by discussing the other operating divisions.