Delaware Business Blog

Registration of a Fictitious Name in Delaware

Call it what you will- assumed name, fictitious name, trade name, or DBA (doing business as).
Depending on where you are located, the terminology may change, but the meaning is essentially the same; the use of a different name in business, commerce and trade.

Why do you need to do this?

  • It’s the law.

    In Delaware, no person, firm, association, or company can transact business without using their actual legal name within the State unless you file a Fictitious Name Certificate.

    This includes, but is not limited to sole-proprietors.
    The bottom line – you need to be accessible.

  • Why would you want to do this?

  • Everyone’s specific circumstances will be different, for some it may simply be a means to an end. One example of a situation when you might need to apply for a fictitious name certificate would be if you wanted to accept payment, such as a check, in a name other than your own. Another example might be that you want to advertise a service you provide using a name other than your own.
    Filing a fictitious name certificate shows the world you are not necessarily trying to hide your identity, and at the same time allows you use another name for business purposes.
  • How do you register a fictitious name in Delaware?

  • You will to file a fictitious name certificate with the Prothonotary’s office in the Superior Court for the particular county you are going to be doing business in. The fictitious name registration does not cover you statewide. You will need to file a fictitious name certificate in each county that you will transact business in.
  • The cost is $25.00 and you can make the filing in person, or by mail.
    1. ___________
      New Castle County Prothonotary
      500 N. King Street
      Suite 500, Lower Level 1
      Wilmington, DE 19801-3746
      (302)-255-0825

      ___________

      Kent County Prothonotary
      38 The Green
      Dover, DE 19901
      (302) 739-3184

      ___________

      Sussex County Prothonotary
      P.O. Box 756
      Georgetown, DE 19947
      (302) 856-5742

      ___________

    Download the procedure and Fictitious Name Certificate
    ***NOTE- The document is a template that is set up for use in New Castle County, Delaware, but it can be altered if necessary.

  • The same basic form is used in all three counties. Be sure to change New Castle County to the appropriate name of the country you will be registering in.
  • The notary portion of the form is formatted for use by a Delaware notary, however, you may have the document notarized by a notary of another State. Be sure to alter the notary portion of the form to be consistent with the jurisdiction where it is notarized.
  • Things to keep in mind

  • Be sure that your certificate is notarized, and the any necessary changes have been made to the form.
  • The applicant must bear primary responsibility for determining whether there is in existence any other business or organization utilizing the same fictitious name. The acceptance and recording of a fictitious name certificate in the Prothonotary’s Office shall in no way be deemed a warranty of the applicant’s right to operate under the name registered.
  • The registration of a Trade (fictitious) name has no connection with the need for a license to do business in Delaware. Applications for a Delaware Business License are available at the Division of Revenue.
  • 15 thoughts on “Registration of a Fictitious Name in Delaware

    1. Russell Post author

      Hi Mike,

      That’s a good question and one of the requirements for applicants. It might be a good idea to contact the Prothonotarys office to discuss with them what you need to do in order to determine if a fictitious name is available for use or not. Let us know what you find out!

      Russell

    2. Tom

      Nice article. What if I live in Washington DC, but I’m incorporated in Delaware (i.e., I don’t physically reside or do business in Delaware). Can I still use a fictitious name? Where do I file the certificate?

    3. Phyllis

      Is there a database where I can check and see if a fictitious name is in use or do I need to contact each Prothonotary office to inquire?

    4. Russell Post author

      That’s a great question Phyllis!

      At last check, there was no database available to access online; you would need to contact each Prothonotary’s office independently to inquire about a fictitious name.

      1. Russell Post author

        Hi Lynn,

        That’s a great question! I haven’t come across such a form, however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one/ I’d recommend you contact the prothonotary’s office in the county where your fictitious name is registered, and see what the process is for abandonment. Let us know what you find out!

    5. Mark V.Turner

      Here’s your termination form website address
      http://courts.delaware.gov/Superior/pdf/fictitious_names_registration_AFFIDAVIT_1009.pdf

      Now my questions are: why does one have to register one’s ficticious name in each county other than to generate revenue for the Superior Court??

      Shouldn’t there be a one stop website form where not only can you do the name search, but also complete the registration, pay for it, and have it processed by a notary in their office and sent to you in the mail??

      If I can buy and sell on e-Bay and use PayPal to bill and collect funds from customers, why can’t the Prothonotary do the same? It’s about 10 minutes work to do this and fairly self-explanatory

      1. Russell Post author

        Mark,

        Thanks for finding this for our readers! I know that the website and information has improved a bit since we ran the original post. Your comment helps to keep this resource valuable to the readers of the site.

        As to your questions; you’re probably right. Revenue generation definitely comes into play with just about any business organization. It just so happens that the business services sections of Delaware’s Government are treated much more like a business than a government agency in some respects (i.e. generation of fees). It’s a fair follow up question you ask then, why don’t they improve the process just like any business would? The answer is probably that they have a captured market! No competition gives little incentive to streamline for the sake of increasing your business (remember, I said they act like a business in only some respects!). To be fair though, the notary process actually requires that an individual appear before the notary and either be personally known to them or provide ID. I’m not disagreeing that there isn’t room for improvement, just pointing out that there may be some challenges to navigate as well.

        Thanks again for your comment!

    6. Marie

      hello, what are the filing fee’s for DBA and for an abandonment. Also do they need to be published as well? first time filing.

      looking forward to hearing back from you

    7. Adam Bowers

      For the purposes of transferring a judgment from JP Court to Superior Court, why do the require my DBA be represented by and attorney? A DBA is not a corporation and therefore not a “living/natural person” and yet they want me to hire an attorney to transfer a judgment. under Polymer Industries v. Chapel Corp. a corporation must be represented by an attorney, but a DBA is not a separate entity. What is the deal?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *