I Have a DBA. Do I Need a Trademark?
The short answer: yes!
A DBA and a Trademark are very different things.
And they help you start + grow your business in different ways.
Here’s how it works:
1. A DBA Means You’re A Business
A DBA tells your city or county that you’re “Doing Business As” a brand name.
It’s important because it may be required to run your business in a city or county.
But it doesn’t protect your brand at all.
It’s true that people in your city can’t use the exact same brand name as you.
But people in your city can use really similar brands.
And people in other cities can register your exact brand name.
That’s where a trademark comes in…
2. A Trademark Gives You Brand Ownership
A trademark is the exclusive right to use your name, logo, and tagline.
It means you can stop people in any state from using any similar brand name. You are the only one who can use it.
It’s so important to trademark your name. Once your company starts doing well, you’ll see other companies popping up with similar branding. They’ll try to confuse your customers and steal your sales. Without a trademark, there’s no way to stop them.
It doesn’t matter that you have an DBA. There’s nothing you can do.
If you’re investing time + money into your brand, you need a trademark.
3. A Trademark Prevents a Rebrand
Only one company can own a brand. Typically, it’s whoever trademarks it first.
If another company trademarks your brand first, they’ll own your name nationally. It doesn’t matter that you have an DBA with that brand name. You won’t be able to use it. To continue operating nationally, you'll have to rebrand.
Think about how many places have your branding: your website, social media, business cards, products, marketing materials, press links, inventory, etc.
You'll need to rebrand all of that. You'll lose customers, money, and momentum.
That’s why you need to trademark your brand asap.