Does a DBA registration offer any legal name protection?

Ah, the days of childhood when you could set up a crayon drawn sign on a corner, wheel out a wagon and start selling lemonade to passersby. You still may see some of these pop up businesses around Dallas on a hot summer day, but they are fewer and farther between than they used to be even 10 years ago.

That's not necessarily because it's so much harder to do -- though there are surely those who would argue that it is no easy thing starting a business. The legal hurdles that are required at the various levels of government can be significant. No, sad as it may be, security concerns might be the bigger reason why lemonade stands aren't as common as they used to be.

Anyone starting a business needs to be aware of security and protecting assets. And one of the assets that may be the most difficult to secure is the business' name. Many newcomers to business are of the mistaken impression that by filing documents of incorporation, including registering an Assumed Name Certificate or Doing Business As (DBA) certificate, it means you have sufficiently blocked someone else from using that name.

That is not the case. Registering your business and name with the Texas Secretary of State's office is an important step to take. By doing so, the office is prevented from approving documents for someone else if the Secretary deems their business name is the same or deceptively similar to yours.

If you want to more solidly protect your trade name, the federal Small Business Administration recommends registering your business name as a trademark. Not only can the trademark be used to protect your business name, but it can also be sued to protect symbols, logos or slogans that you decide to associate with the name.

Asset protection may not be necessary for the name of a pop-up lemonade stand, but it's important for anything you want to be more permanent.

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