How To Trademark A Dba?

How To Trademark A Dba?

Table of Contents

In the world of business, a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name is an essential part of your brand identity. Protecting this name through trademarking is crucial to ensure that it remains exclusively yours and prevents others from using a similar name.

Here’s to learning how to trademark a DBA.

What is a DBA?

A DBA, also known as a fictitious name, trade name, or assumed name, is an alias that a business operates under that is different from its legal, registered name. For example, if Jane Doe owns a company called “Doe Enterprises LLC” but wants to open a coffee shop called “Morning Brew,” she would register “Morning Brew” as a DBA.

Why Trademark Your DBA?

Trademarking your DBA grants you the exclusive right to use it in connection with your products or services. This legal protection helps prevent others from using a similar name that could cause confusion among your customers. For instance, if you trademark the DBA “Sunny Day Landscaping,” it ensures that no other landscaping business can legally use a similar name, safeguarding your brand identity. By trademarking your DBA, you ensure that you have exclusive rights to use it in commerce. This exclusivity is vital in a competitive market where brand differentiation is key. For example, the restaurant chain “McDonald’s” has trademarked its name, ensuring that no other business can use a similar name, which helps maintain a strong and unique brand identity.

A registered trademark adds significant value to your brand. It is a tangible asset that enhances your overall business worth. This can be particularly important if you plan to license your DBA, sell your business, or seek investment. A trademarked DBA adds credibility and can attract potential investors or partners.

Trademarking your DBA acts as a deterrent to others who might consider using a similar name. When other businesses see that your DBA is trademarked, they are less likely to use a similar name, knowing it could lead to legal repercussions. This helps protect your brand from infringement and maintains its uniqueness.

Registering a trademark for your DBA demonstrates professionalism and a serious commitment to your brand. It shows that you are dedicated to protecting your business name, which can enhance your reputation and build trust with your customers, partners, and investors.

Rebranding can be a costly and time-consuming process. By trademarking your DBA early on, you can avoid the potential expenses associated with rebranding if another business claims your name or a similar one. This foresight can save you significant time and money in the long run.

If you plan to expand your business, having a trademark provides legal protection in other areas as well. Whether you’re launching new products, entering new markets, or creating a franchise, a trademark ensures your DBA is protected across various platforms and products.

How to Trademark a DBA

Trademarking a DBA involves several steps. Each step is crucial to ensure that your application is successful and that your DBA is adequately protected.

Step 1: Register Your DBA

Before you can trademark your DBA, you need to register it with the appropriate state or local government agency. This process varies by state, so check with your local government for specific requirements. Registering your DBA ensures that you have the legal right to operate under that name in your jurisdiction.

Step 2: Decide How to File for a Trademark

After registering your DBA, you need to decide how you want to file your trademark application. You have three main options:

Direct Filing with USPTO

File directly with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This option is the most cost-effective but requires you to handle all aspects of the application yourself.

Online Legal Services

Use online legal services that specialize in trademark registrations. These websites can simplify the process and ensure that your application is correctly filed.

Hiring a Trademark Attorney

Hire a trademark attorney to handle the process for you. This option is the most expensive but provides expert guidance and increases the likelihood of a successful application.

Step 3: Review the Current Fee Schedule

The USPTO updates its fee schedule periodically. Before submitting your application, review the current fees to understand the costs involved. Being aware of the fees upfront helps you budget for the trademarking process and avoid surprises.

Step 4: Conduct a Thorough Search

Conduct a search in the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to ensure that no similar trademarks are already registered. This step is crucial to avoid potential legal issues and application rejection.

Step 5: Prepare Your Application

File your trademark application through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Here’s what you’ll need to include in your application:

  • Statement of Use: A declaration that you are using the DBA in commerce.
  • Examples of Use: Evidence showing that you are using the DBA, such as business signage, promotional materials, or digital platform listings.
  • Trademark Drawing: A visual representation of the trademark. This should be a clear and precise image of your DBA as it appears on your business materials.
  • Specimen of Use: A sample showing how the trademark is used in the marketplace. This could be a sign, business card, or an advertisement.
  • Filing Fee: The cost associated with filing your application.

Step 6: Monitor and Enforce Your Trademark

Once you have successfully trademarked your DBA, it is essential to actively monitor and enforce your trademark rights.

Regularly check the marketplace and online platforms to ensure that no one is using your trademarked DBA without permission. Set up alerts and periodically review relevant sites to stay informed about potential infringements.

Costs of Trademarking a DBA

The cost to trademark a DBA varies depending on the filing option you choose. Here are the three basic options provided by the USPTO:

Direct Filing Fees

When you file directly with the USPTO’s TEAS, you can choose from three basic options:


  • Basic Filing Fee: $250 per class of goods or services.
  • Additional Class Fee: $125 for each additional class.
  • Email Communications: Required for further communications.

TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF)

  • Basic Filing Fee: $275 per class of goods or services.
  • Additional Class Fee: $125 for each additional class (payable later).
  • Email Communications: Required for further communications.

TEAS Regular

  • Basic Filing Fee: $350 per class of goods or services.
  • Additional Class Fee: Fees apply for adding classes of goods and services.

Additional Costs

Beyond the basic filing fees, you might incur additional costs if you hire a trademark attorney or use a legal website for assistance. These costs can vary widely, so choose the option that best fits your budget and needs.

Renewal and Maintenance of Your Trademark

Trademarks are not indefinite and must be renewed periodically to maintain their legal protection. The USPTO requires you to file maintenance documents at specific intervals to keep your trademark registration active. Here are the key renewal periods:

  • Between the 5th and 6th Year: File a Declaration of Continued Use or Excusable Nonuse.
  • Between the 9th and 10th Year: File a Combined Declaration of Continued Use and Application for Renewal.
  • Every 10 Years Thereafter: Continue to file a Combined Declaration of Continued Use and Application for Renewal.

Failure to file these maintenance documents can result in the cancellation of your trademark registration.

Famous Trademarked DBAs:

Apple Inc., originally incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc., uses the DBA “Apple.” This name is trademarked and represents one of the most iconic brands in the technology sector. The Apple brand is recognized worldwide for its innovative products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and various software services. The name “Apple” has become synonymous with cutting-edge technology, quality, and design excellence.

Google LLC, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., operates under the DBA “Google.” This name, initially representing a search engine, has expanded into various technological fields. The DBA “Google” is trademarked and represents the company’s diverse range of products and services. Google is a household name and a leader in internet-related services and products, including search engines, advertising, and cloud computing.

Starbucks Corporation uses the DBA “Starbucks,” which is trademarked to represent its extensive network of coffeehouses and coffee products. The name “Starbucks” is synonymous with premium coffee and a unique coffeehouse experience. It has become one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world, known for its high-quality products and customer service., Inc. operates under the trademarked DBA “Amazon.” Initially an online bookstore, Amazon has expanded into e-commerce, cloud computing, and various other sectors. The name “Amazon” is now associated with the largest online marketplace and a leading provider of cloud services through Amazon Web Services (AWS), making it a powerhouse in the retail and technology industries.

McDonald’s Corporation uses the DBA “McDonald’s,” which is trademarked and represents its global chain of fast-food restaurants. “McDonald’s” is a name that has become emblematic of fast food worldwide. The brand is known for its consistent quality, iconic menu items like the Big Mac, and its Golden Arches logo.

The Coca-Cola Company, often referred to simply as “Coke,” uses the DBA “Coca-Cola.” This name is trademarked and represents its flagship cola product and other beverages. The name “Coca-Cola” is one of the most recognized trademarks globally, symbolizing a long history of marketing success and serving as a staple in the beverage industry.

Nike, Inc. uses the DBA “Nike,” which is trademarked to represent its line of sportswear, equipment, and services. The name “Nike” is synonymous with athletic excellence and innovation. It is a leading brand in the sports industry, known for its high-quality products and influential marketing campaigns.

Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook, Inc., uses the DBA “Facebook.” This name is trademarked and represents the social media platform and related services. The name “Facebook” has become synonymous with social networking and digital communication, making it one of the most influential companies in the tech industry.

Reach Out To Us:

Trademarking your DBA is a vital step in protecting your brand and ensuring its uniqueness in the marketplace.  Whether you choose to file directly, use online legal services, or hire an attorney, being informed about the trademarking process and its associated costs will help you make the best decision for your business. If you have any questions or need assistance with trademarking your DBA, our team of experts is here to help.