Can you trademark a DBA?

Yes, you can trademark a DBA or fictitious business name if you use the name to brand your products or services. If you use a particular DBA as your brand name, it is entitled to the same legal protection that any other brand name would receive.

This information was provided by our founding attorney, Xavier Morales, Esq. 

By trademarking your DBA, you would prevent competitors from using the name to create confusion or mislead consumers. This grants you exclusive rights over the name, ensuring your legal rights are protected.

In order to register a trademark, you will need to demonstrate to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that your DBA is distinct and that you intend to use it as a brand for your goods or services.

Trademarks exist specifically to prevent your competitors from using similar branding elements. As such, your trademark will only cover your particular field or market. DBA registration is a critical step for sole proprietors and other business entities, like corporations and limited liability companies, to establish themselves as legal entities in the marketplace.

Trademarks vs DBAs

Some view trademarks and DBAs as an "either-or" proposition. While some may make this tradeoff, the two aren't mutually exclusive. You can register a DBA, register a trademark, or both. Understanding the distinction between DBA vs. trademark is crucial for business owners to ensure they have the trademark rights and protection they need. Let's examine some of the differences.


A DBA will offer protection only at the state level. If you plan on staying within one specific area and not expanding, relying on a DBA and a common law trademark may be enough. However, if you ever want to expand to the national level (or, these days, online) you'll want to register your trademark with the USPTO to achieve federal trademark protection.


A DBA is only going to protect your name. If you want protection for anything else, such as a logo, you will need a registered trademark. Trademark registration provides comprehensive protection for your brand, including its name, logo, and any unique branding elements.


DBAs are generally cheaper than registering a trademark. While a business DBA will cost (generally) in the $10 to $100 range, the cost for registering a trademark is several hundred dollars. However, as we mentioned, cutting cost here means you ultimately receive less protection. Engaging lawyers in the process of trademark registration might increase the cost but offers major benefits by ensuring legal accuracy and protection.

Common Trademark Topics for Business Owners

Trademarking Your DBA

If you are considering using a distinct DBA, trade name, or fictitious business name, contacting legal professionals can provide invaluable legal advice and assistance. Organizations, including limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, will find that trademark protection is a key asset in safeguarding their brand identity against infringement.

This comprehensive approach to understanding and utilizing DBA and trademark registration can significantly benefit business owners, ensuring their brand, whether it represents products, services, or both, receives the highest level of protection. Clients and consumers alike trust businesses that are legally protected, reinforcing the importance of a solid legal foundation for your business entity.

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Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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