Developer "Brand" Entity or DBA?

4 Replies

I have several entities that hold real estate. It's time for me to have umbrella brand for my "company", similar to big developers. However, I have no need now for a unified PM  or single development corporation right now, just a brand for myself really and for putting my name out there. 

Wouldn't it make sense to simply file a DBA for myself or for one of my major holding entities as "XYZ Properties"? In fact, I really like that it would be a worthless entity, so that it is unattackable - yet official for legitimate branding.

I use an unincorporated/unregistered "DBA". The risk is in losing the brand should someone else decide it's a viable brand. Otherwise, if there's no legal or tax value for you at this time, and it's simply a marketing strategy, I say have at it.

Originally posted by @JD Martin :
The risk is in losing the brand should someone else decide it's a viable brand. 

Hi JD Martin, is that really the case that someone can take your brand if you only have a DBA? What if you also own the trademark for the name? I'm not really that worried, just curious.

Originally posted by @Matt Liu :
Originally posted by @Jd Martin:
The risk is in losing the brand should someone else decide it's a viable brand. 

Hi JD Martin, is that really the case that someone can take your brand if you only have a DBA? What if you also own the trademark for the name? I'm not really that worried, just curious.

Sure, if it is not copyrighted or registered with the state, or whatever other protective devices exist in NJ. If you were in business long enough, you might be able to make a reasonable court argument against someone glomming on to your identity, but business is business, and registries and trademark protection exists for a reason. If you are DBA as "Matt Liu Enterprises", unless you believe there's someone else out there interested in using your name, or you plan on becoming the next Microsoft, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

We ended up setting up a new company after we initially did a D/B/A.  For your marketing you'll need a brand, but later on you'll have other needs for accounting, contingent liability containment, etc.  You can do this with your existing entity, but it may expose assets that you don't want to expose.