Legality of Dr.

I am starting my own IT service business. I have minimal qualifications and will be charging well under the standard so I can get some experience in my field. There’s a running gag from my younger days in Boy Scouts where I was Dr. Jacob, reason not being important to the business. But I would like to extend this name to my business as it is part of my childhood. It also works for the business in that I will be a computer ‘doctor’. I am aware there’s some legality over calling yourself doctor without a PhD. My two questions are whether that extends to people saying the phrase ‘computer doctor’, and also if it is still an issue, can I use the name provided I put a disclaimer that I am not a PhD and that it is merely a fun name? Given I will make it clear to all customers that I am working on my certifications from comptia and am not fully certified and insured, but just doing a side job with the skills I have to gain experience, I do not expect to be challenged by my customers, but I still want to play it safe.

Asked on March 30, 2017 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As long as you use the word Doctor or initials Dr. in such way that it's clear that it is part of a business name and not that you are claiming to be a Dr. or have a Ph.D, you are fine. You can call your business "Computer Doctor" or "Tech Doctor" or anything like that; you can refer to yourself as "John Doe, the Computer Doctor," or similar things; what you can't do is anything like "Doctor John Doe," or "Dr. John Doe," etc. since that usage implies you have the degree.


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