Choose a Name

You’ve brainstormed and picked that perfect business name. So what’s the next step to make it legal and protect your brand? If you’re conducting business under a name different than your own (ie. John Doe), you must file a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) with the SF Office of the County Clerk.


Fictitious Business Name

NOTE
Be sure to register with the SF Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTX) before filing for a FBN.

A fictitious name or trade name is a business name that is different from your personal name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation. Because the FBN allows you to Do Business As a name other than your given name, it is also called a DBA or DBA Name.

Find an Available Name

When you choose to name your business, you must choose a name no one else in San Francisco is using. You can check to see if the name you want is available using the SF Fictitious Business Name (FBN) Search. We recommend searching the internet and checking the US Patent and Trademark Office or the CA Secretary of State’s Corporate Division to see if your name is being used in other areas as well. 

File an FBN

To file your FBN, you must submit the Fictitious Business Name Statement and filing fee either in person or by mail to the SF Office of the County Clerk. If filing in person, be sure to bring: a valid legal photo identification; a self-addressed, stamped envelope; and proof of registration with TTX, (for example, a receipt or Temporary Verification of Registration).

Advertise Your New Name

After filing for your FBN, you must advertise the name in a local newspaper for a minimum of four weeks. The name must be published in a legally adjudicated newspaper within 30 days from the date of filing. See the County Clerks publication requirements for more information.

Last modified date: Mon, 12/14/2015 - 10:17