Fictitious Trade Names

A Fictitious Trade Name is required if a business is conducted in Virginia under a name other than the owners legal name. An assumed or fictitious name certificate must be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in each county or city where business is to be conducted. No person, partnership, limited liability company or corporation may conduct or transact business in the Commonwealth under any assumed or fictitious name until they file a certificate in the Circuit Court Clerk´s Office in the county or city in which their business is conducted pursuant to §59.1-69 of the Code of Virginia.

State Corporation Commission

Businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission may file a Trade Name at the local level if it is conducting business under a different name other than the name that is registered with the State Corporation Commission. If you are conducting business under the name registered with the State Corporation Commission, you are not required to file a trade name on the county level. The types of businesses registered with the State Corporation Commission are:

  • Corporation
  • Foreign Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Partnership

Foreign State Corporation Commission

Businesses registered with a Foreign State Corporation Commission must register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond as a foreign corporation before registering a trade name on the county level.

Trade Names

You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney concerning the protection of your business trade name. A trade name filed at the local level does not have the same status as those filed with the State Corporation Commission.

To avoid duplication of a business name it is recommended that the owner review the Trade Name index on the Courts Automated Retrieval System (CARS) for names already recorded.

All persons that register a trade name who do not reside in the Commonwealth are required to provide the name, address and phone number of a Virginia registered agent for purpose of service of process.

§59.1-71 of the Code of Virginia

According to §59.1-71 of the Code of Virginia , "every person, as defined in §1-13.19 , who intends to transact business under an assumed or fictitious name in accordance with the provisions of this chapter in a county or city in which such person does not reside, in the case of a natural person, or does not maintain its principal place of business, in the case of any other person, shall, before commencing to do business in such city or county, by written power of attorney, appoint some practicing attorney-at-law residing in the Commonwealth as its attorney or agent, upon whom all legal processes against the owner may be served and who shall be authorized to enter an appearance in its own behalf."