A DBA which stands for “Doing Business As” is in short, simply a nickname of the company. It is another way to call a business. Though you can register a DBA before even filing articles of creation of a legal entity, a DBA will always have a business behind it. It is another name to refer to a particular business. Also known as a “fictitious name” you will be able to do virtually everything under your DBA, including, for example, opening bank accounts under that DBA name.
A trademark is different. And yes, there may be overlap in the sense that your DBA could also be a trademark, but not all trademarks are necessarily DBAs. A trademark is a type of intellectual property. Though intangible, it is an asset of the business which consists of a recognizable sign, design, expression, and unique colors that attach to products or services you provide. A registered trademark carries strong intellectual protection under federal and state law. In other words, other people cannot use your name with the specific design and colors you use in your business.
Let’s use an example. Your company could be Apple Corporation Inc., which does business as (DBA) Apple Corp, and has a trademark “Apple” with the image of an actual apple next to it. The Apple (with the apple image) trademark, is reserved for you. Nobody can use it. Of course, something similar applies to DBAs. But by nature, DBAs don’t include the design or the type of legal protections that trademark (especially if registered) carries under the law.
For more information about trademarks, DBAs, or issues with intellectual property in your small business, contact attorney firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 305-570-2208