What is a legal entity, specifically in Apple's terms?


What exactly is a legal entity?

I am trying to form a sole-proprietorship company in the state of California. Is this
considered a legal entity? How can I set up the name for this company, other than a DBA (as
when registering as an Apple developer as a company, they do not accept DBA's, only legal entities).

Forgive me if these are really obvious questions, I'm very new to this.

Definitions Legal Entity Name

asked Jan 29 '12 at 15:19
51 points
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  • When I signed up for Apple dev program I was able to use a DBA - even for the hardware compatible program (which is MUCH more stringent than the ios dev program). I guess they changed it. – Tim J 12 years ago

3 Answers


If your business is a sole proprietorship, then you, an individual, are the "legal entity", and the name you provide is your full name.

Please note that in answering this question, I have not researched whether Apple's applicable terms and conditions permit you to register as an individual.

Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

answered Jan 30 '12 at 10:34
Dana Shultz
6,015 points


I specifically called Apple and asked this a few months ago. A sole proprietorship, even with a bank account with that name, is not sufficient. They will want to see your state papers, so that means LLC or C-Corp. They specifically said state paperwork, so maybe a sole proprietorship would work, but this is a question for them.

The US number is 1 (408) 974-4897.

Find the other numbers here: https://developer.apple.com/contact/phone.php You can easily join the developer program as an individual and change. This does not affect any apps you've uploaded, but you will lose access to iTunes Connect during the weeks they take to approve your change over. So don't do the change over during an important release cycle.

answered Jan 30 '12 at 15:31
Paul Cezanne
649 points
  • I joined with just having a DBA. I faxed/emailed the DBA thing signed by my county and they were happy with that. – Tim J 12 years ago
  • Government papers, that makes sense. Good to know a DBA is good enough. LLC/C-Corp is not cheap in some states! – Paul Cezanne 12 years ago


There's no "legal entity in Apple's terms". The definition of legal entity is anything or anyone recognized by the law and by the courts in a lawsuit. If you don't act on the behalf of an incorporated business, the legal entity is you.

You need to consult with the Office of Secretary of State of California about the proper procedures of registering your sole proprietorship as a legal entity. However, sole proprietorship isn't the recommended form of doing business since it doesn't provide any protection against personal liability.

answered Jan 29 '12 at 16:19
1,963 points
  • for many people a sole prop is fine. Writing apps for an iPhone is not likely an endeavor that will require corporate protection. In all likelyhood this is just a question about making Apple happy to get a company account - not jsut an individual account. There is no need to make an S corp or C corp or LLC for that... – Tim J 12 years ago
  • If an app's malfunction can cause business or personal damage, corporate protection is necessary. – Dnbrv 12 years ago
  • For an iPhone app? Really? And the ToS can easily be written to handle that. – Tim J 12 years ago
  • I voted this answer down because in CA there is no obligation for a sole proprietor to register with the Secretary of State. – Dana Shultz 12 years ago
  • @DanaShultz: It's great to know that CA doesn't require sole proprietors to registers with the state. That's why I said to check with the authorities rather than advising the wrong action. Please remove the down-vote. – Dnbrv 12 years ago
  • Apple charges the same for a business and a personal account, $99/year. (Enterprise account is different, but that's not what he is talking about here.) – Paul Cezanne 12 years ago

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