Fictitious Business Names
The County of San Mateo requires that most local businesses file a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) statement, also sometimes referred to as a "dba" or "doing business as" statement. Filing this statement creates a record of who is responsible for the business; once filed, the FBN remains valid for up to 5 years.
However, a Fictitious Business Name statement is not required if the business name also contains the legal name of the owner, because the legal name of the owner is a clear way of distinguishing the business from others.
For new FBN applications, the person registering the statement is also responsible for advertising it within 30 days in a general circulation newspaper distributed in San Mateo County. The advertisement must be published once a week for four successive weeks, and the person registering the name must file an affidavit of publication with the County Clerk within 30 days after the last advertisement appears.
You may research existing Fictitious Business Names and apply for your own FBN statement by visiting the Business Services section of the County website.