The use of fictitious names is governed by the Fictitious Names Act of 1982, 54Pa.C.S. Section 301 et seq. which repealed prior laws on the subject. Any entity or entities (including individuals, corporations, partnership or other groups) which conduct any business in Pennsylvania under an assumed or fictitious name shall register such name by filing an application for registration of fictitious name.
A fictitious name is any assumed name, style or designation other than the proper name of the entity using such name. Fictitious names must be distinguishable upon the records of the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations from the name of any association registered with the bureau. The removal of a designator (Incorporated, Inc., Limited, LLC, etc.) does not make a name distinguishable. The bureau will not accept fictitious name registrations from registered business entities that wish to register the exact same name, but without the designator.
Filing under the fictitious names act does not create any exclusive or other right in the fictitious name.
To register an assumed or fictitious business name, the Fictitious Name Registration form must be filed. This application must contain the following information:
- The fictitious name. The name may contain a corporate designator only if the owner is a corporation. The use of the word "company" or "co." in a fictitious name by a sole proprietorship or a corporation is permissible.
- A brief statement concerning the character or nature of the business activity to be transacted.
- The address of the principal place of business. A P.O. Box alone is not acceptable.
- The name address and signature of each individual or entity interested in the business.
When a fictitious name is used by an individual, an association or other entity which includes an individual party, the user of the name must advertise that it has filed or intends to file an application for registration of the fictitious name. The advertisement should be placed in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which your business will be located and one advertisement in a legal publication or newspaper in that same county. The information required for the advertisements is set forth in the statutes. The proper legal publication can be identified by contacting the county courthouse or county bar association in the county where the principal office is located. The bureau can also assist you. Evidence of these advertisements should be kept with the business records and not submitted to the bureau.