DBA vs TRADEMARK & REPRESENTING ONESELF - HOW DOES IT WORK?


Q/A IN THE AREA OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & 
LAW IN GENERAL

What is DBA? How is it different than a Trademark?

DBA stands for "Doing Business As".

DBA serves the following purpose:

a. Provides avenue to conduct business in another name other than your legal name

b. By registering DBA, it also helps the consuming public to know the person behind the registered name

How useful is DBA? Which is better - Trademark or DBA?

It certainly helps in adding clarity to your product. But, it does not prevent others from using that name in the future, nor gives you the ability to legally protect yourself from other organizations.

Whereas, Trademarks provide a way to protect your brand legally from others using it. For that matter, one gets exclusive rights to the trademark from the day of use and need not wait until the trademark gets registered.

Can a person represent herself/himself in an Intellectual Property filing?

Yes, in many of the common law nations, it is possible for an individual to represent oneself in a legal proceedings. In USA, it is called "Proceeding Pro Se" and the person representing oneself is called "Pro Se" litigant.

Same applies for the country of India, where an individual can contest her/his own Appeal/Complaint.

Why does someone decide to represent oneself?

One obvious reason is due to finances. But, there are two more important reasons. 

Just like a caring mother's love for her own baby, a creator's love for his/her intellectual property and the person's in-depth understanding of the nuances of that IP coming from visualization of that IP makes that creator opt-in to represent the IP case himself/herself. This also applies for other types of cases.

Also, in this fast paced world where financial gains could supersede loyalty, individuals opt to represent oneself in fear of sleight of hand dealings that are not obviously visible and puts the less privileged individuals/party at a disadvantage. There is an interesting case history of a mom, who had to represent herself after she had concerns of her lawyer not doing due justice to her custody case to get her child back from her philandering and abusive spouse.

On a subtle note, prior experiences also plays an important role in this decision.

Taking these factors into account, one might decide to represent oneself. At the same time, it is important for that individual to do a thorough research upfront to equip in facing the challenge that comes with such a decision.

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