What's the difference between a Business Name vs. a Trademark?

 Alfred Stallion
  Mar 27, 2018

People who are involved in a start-up business will most likely to have the confusion about the process of registering business name and trademark.

Sure it is pretty easy to think about the name of your business and give you the exclusive right to use the name you have chosen. It is a vital knowledge for every entrepreneur to know the distinction between a DBA (Doing Business As) name and trademark to avoid complicated legal matters or infringement.

In this article, let’s learn the difference between the two.

Trademark and Business name

First of all, a trademark is basically used to identify the service or product you are offering in the market. It is used to distinguish your product uniquely from other competitor’s products and services.

On the other hand, a business name is used to identify the business itself and not the products or services they’re offering. These identify that the business is run by one or several entities including a sole trader or partnership.

Aforementioned, a trademark identifies the product and services of the business in the market, while business name describes the business itself and its entities – but its more than that.

Here are some run down to help you understand their difference more:

#1: Registration of Business name or DBA is much simpler than trademark registration

In the registration of the business name, it only requires processes including performing a name search, filling out legal and important forms, and paying a fee – that pretty much it. However, in some areas, you may need to publish about the business name in a local paper. Business name registration, for the most part, is straightforward while the application process for a trademark is more complex and extensive and could typically take for more than 6 months.

#2: A Business name will cost less than a trademark

Typically, a DBA name is cheaper than a trademark but the price may vary according to the state or location. They commonly cost less mainly because they offer less protection in terms of the location and legal processes.

#3: Business name can only offer protection on a state level

Aforementioned, business name registration will typically cost less compared to a trademark. Since the all the process is done at a state level, there is a chance that the level of protection will only cover the state or a specific location. For example, if your business has the same name as the next state, there is no legal process you can do about it.

#4: A trademark can offer high-level protection compared to business name

While DBA name can only reach state level of protection, a trademark can cover on a national level.

#5: The USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) can detect any deceiving similarities

The actual words that are used for trademarks can be used on a state and national level. But the USPTO can help in these confusions.

#6: Legal property can be covered by a trademark

Once you registered a trademark, this means that no one else can infringe upon your exclusive right to use it.

#7: Trademarks isn’t just a name – it goes beyond that

As mentioned earlier, a business name only identifies the business itself and its entities or proprietors. Trademarks, on the other hand, go beyond the name as it also covers, register, and protects the business designs, logos, symbols, and phrases.

#8: A trademark can have inherent value

For example, imagine buying a regular car, it typically less expensive and offers less comfort thus, less value. Though if you put BMW, Ford, or any famous marks on the regular car, it will automatically have greater value.

#9: Both DBA name and trademarks prevent any other business to use your business name

In order to avoid these confusions, you can seek company secretarial services that offer the best business registration resources and can educate about the legal protection especially if you’re starting a business.

Whether you’re filling a DBA name or Trademark, it is your first step in ensuring that your start-up will follow legal policies and protects from any infringement or any other issues. Once you realize these differences, you can now gain the protection that suits your business or company.

What's the difference between a Business Name vs. a Trademark?

Alfred Stallion

Alfred Stallion is the writer of this article. He is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business-related topics. He also writes for a site kilgetty.co.za offering company and business registration services in Cape Town.

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