How to Protect a Business Name


So you have an idea that you want to make into a business; that’s great! Coming up with a business idea may seem simple, but naming a business can be difficult. Also, making sure that the business name stays rightfully yours can be even harder.

It’s necessary that you take steps to make sure no one profits off your business except you. That could mean registering your business name online, having it trademarked, and more. Keep reading to find out how to protect a business name like a pro. 

Register a Business Name or File a DBA

A DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” is an unofficial business name that can be acquired by registering with your county or state. When you register a DBA, your state creates a public record of the use of your business name which discourages competitors from using a similar name. 

How to Protect a Business Name Online 

When registering a business online, there are certain mistakes that you want to avoid, such as using obscure words and having typos. By using a business registration service, you can avoid mistakes and let professionals guide you through the process of registering your business name.

Trademark a Business Name 

Registering your business name online may not be enough to protect it from competitors if you’re looking to expand your business or sell on the internet. In these instances, it’s best practice to register for a trademark. When you trademark your business name, you ensure that you’re able to use it, that others can’t profit from it, and that you are protecting your finances. 

How to Get a Business Name Trademarked 

You must fill two boxes to qualify for a trademark for your business name; it must be unique and it must not be likely to cause confusion with existing registered trademarks. Business names that are descriptive or generic, like “Ontario Nail Salon,” do not qualify for trademark protection. You can get a trademark by simply using your business name, but you’ll get much stronger protection by registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Copyright a Business Name 

Trademark and copyright aren’t terms that you can use interchangeably. While they are both legal protections, they have distinct differences. For example, whereas a copyright claim lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 75 years, a trademark must go through a renewal process every 10 years. 

How to Copyright a Name for Your Business 

Copyright is a legal protection that protects original works of authorship. Since the law doesn’t consider business names as works of authorship, they do not qualify for copyright protection. 

Protect Your Business Name From Others 

When you take steps to defend your business name, you keep others from profiting off it and secure your finances. And now that you know how to protect a business name, you can put these steps into action and be confident that your great business idea will stay yours. 

Browse our Branding or Business archives for more helpful information.


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