You just launched your new business and you’re proud of the perfect name you’ve chosen for your company. After some time in business, you conduct a Google search for your company and you discover another business shares the same name as yours! Could you be in trouble for trademark infringement? Get all the facts on trademark infringement in this situation and learn what you can do if your business shares a name with another.
Can Two Companies Have the Same Name?
Yes, however, certain requirements must be met in order for it to not constitutes trademark infringement and to determine which party is the rightful owner of the name. These requirements include:
- Are the businesses in the same industry or geographic location?
- Which business used the name first?
- Which business registered the name first?
Trademark’s guiding principle is not to confuse the consumer. If the businesses are in different industries or geographic locations, it’s unlikely a consumer would confuse the two businesses. In this instance, it’s typically not an issue if two businesses share a name. If the businesses are in the same industry and geographic location, however, business owners need to determine who had the name first.
Trademark rights are established on a first-come, first-served basis; if you can prove you had the business name first, you’re in good shape to retain the rights to the name. Last, there is a difference between using a business name and registering one. If you were using a business name first, but another company then registered the name, then you’d only be able to use the business name in your geographic market. You would not be able to use the name in expanded locations.
Trademark Issue? Hire the Right Defense
Copyright and trademark offenses have caught the attention of federal prosecutors. If you’re facing a copyright or trademark charge, you need a strong defense team to fight for you.
Our attorneys are former federal prosecutors, and we’re prepared to mount a strong defense showing you did not deliberately commit copyright infringement.