Business name question.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Branson, MO

I am starting a coupon company called tasting xxxxxxxx (city name). However there is an other company locally called taste of xxxxxxx (same city name after taste of). However, they host events for local restaurants and are NOT in couponing. Can I be sued? We have totally different business overview but we both work with local restaurants. Or can I mention on our website that we are not affiliated with taste of xxxxxxx

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Bruce E. Burdick

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You might be able to do this with proper legal guidance, but it's a tricky task that will require an attorney's help.. I am confident I know exactly the other company of which you speak. And, if I am right they are not the only one, there is a second travel discounter also using the TASTE OF XXXXXXX for coupons for a taste of the attractions of that city to get you to attend a timeshare presentation or travel club presentation. I have even had some clients who have attended it. And, if I am correct about the mark, there is also an abandoned US Trademark application for that TASTE OF XXXXXXX mark, abandoned because it was a pro se screw up. At any rate, Taste and Tasting are close but yet different, which gives options for argument and likely registration. Call or email if you would like to discuss this further.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more
  2. Alexander H Butterman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Burdick that you may be able to use that "XXXXXXX" name but you need attorney guidance to properly determine that. Generally speaking, names of well-known cities and other geographical indicators are not distinctive and a single entity cannot stop others from using such terms. Your case illustrates precisely why that should be the case...it sounds like other businesses may need to be able to use that geographical name to describe their service. This is the case whenever such a geographical term is typically associated with a particular good or service. Examples would include "New York" for fashion, media or financial goods/services; Vermont for maple syrup; and perhaps Branson, Missouri for theatrical entertainment services. However, if the geographical term is "obscure" and not well-known, or not typically associated with the goods/services at issue, then that geographic term may not be considered descriptive and may be appropriated by one entity.

    I strongly suggest that you retain an attorney to run your specific situation by him/her.

    Good luck.

    Alex Butterman is a trademark attorney with Staas & Halsey LLP (http://www.staasandhalsey.com), a Washington, D.C.... more
  3. Warren Vincent Norred

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Best to get a trademark registered for your organization. You'll need to either use the mark in commerce, or get an "intent to use"....you're best served by seeing an attorney and paying for work you need done.

    I'm not your attorney; my answer to your question includes assumptions. If you want me to be your attorney, I'm... more

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