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.
New Castle County Prothonotary
500 N. King Street
Suite 500, Lower Level 1
Wilmington, DE 19801-3746
Kent County Prothonotary
38 The Green
Dover, DE 19901
Sussex County Prothonotary
P.O. Box 756
Georgetown, DE 19947
Download the procedure and Fictitious Name Certificate
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.
***NOTE- The document is a template that is set up for use in New Castle County, Delaware, but it can be altered if necessary.
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.