If you are doing business with a name that is not your own, for example “Jane’s Gift Shop”, you must register the name with the state.
The state of Pennsylvania does not require registration if you are operating the business under your own legal name. So, if you are John Doe and you’re opening the “John Doe Store”, you do not need to register the name. However, if you are doing business under another name, such as “Jane’s Gift Shop”, you must register the name with the state. To find out if a name is available visit the Department of State website.
The state’s online wizard will help guide you through the registration process. Or, you can download Fictitious Name registration form from the state website.
NOTE: Registering a name and checking the Pennsylvania database does not give you federal trademark protection nor mean that others are not using your name in other states. If you desire to trademark your name or other applicable marks, you must apply to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.