Selecting and Registering a Business Name
In general, an individual is always entitled to use their personal name for their business. If you choose a name that is not your personal name, you must choose a name that is not already being used by a business. Therefore, it is smart to do a search for the name on the internet and at the website for the US Patent and Trademark Office www.uspto.gov to make sure the name is not already in use. If your name is an integral part of your business or you plan to invest significant money in marketing materials you should consult with an attorney with an expertise in intellectual property law prior to choosing your name.
A business name is registered in Florida at the time the business structure is formed. A sole
proprietorship or partnership using the name(s) of the owner is not required to do anything to register their business name. If the sole proprietorship or partnership is assuming a different name they must file a “DBA” (doing business as…) certificate with county clerk of the county in which the business is located.
A corporation registers its name when filing its Articles of Incorporation and an LLC registers its name when filing its Articles of Organization with SUNBIZ. It is recommended that you conduct a name availability search prior to filing your paperwork.
It is important to note that just because the State of Florida allows you to register your business name, it does not mean you have absolute rights and ownership of that name. Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns about choosing a name for your business you should consult an attorney.
Also, a corporation or LLC may choose to operate the business under a name different than the LLC or corporation, or it may choose to operate multiple businesses through the one business. In these cases, the corporation or LLC must file a Certificate of Assumed Name for each name used by the business with SUNBIZ.
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