Can a new business start in the US, if a business by the same name already exists in Canada?

Asked over 5 years ago - Buffalo, NY

I am currently in the process of starting my own business in NY state. My business name is registered, but I have recently stumbled across a business in Canada by the same name.

My question is, can this become a legal issue for me down the road? Can you have a business in the US with the same name as a business in Canada, eventhough they are totally seperate, with different owners?

I am in the process of working with a graphic artist, and before I spend all this money on my logo, branding, and website, I want to make sure that I am not going to have to change my name because another business exists in another country by the same name.

Thank you for your help!

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Michael A Orozco

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . If the business was in the United States this would be an easier question to answer. The fact that the other business is in Canada makes this subject to international agreements between the two countries. The US and Canada have had a long standing relationship and they do protect the rights of companies in their home countries. The first issue you need to address is whether there is the possibility that the fact you have the same name could lead to confusion in the marketplace. If the other company is a large company, they may be quick to act to get you to stop using the name. If they are a smaller, regional company, that does not sell their product in the international stage, they may not care at all that you have the the same name. Your best resource to do more research is the United State Patent and Trademark Office website, http://www.uspto.gov. If you are planning on applying for a trademark you should do so as quickly as possible. I have sued other companies and represented defendants before the USPTO office, so should you have any questions, please feel free to visit my website at www.bolegal.com.

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