Can I sue someone who will open the business using similar fictitious business name as mine?

Asked over 1 year ago - Sacramento, CA

My partner and I owned the same four business shops together in different locations. Unfortunately we split up, each of us own two of business stores. I just heard that he will open the exact same business near my shop, and use the similar name of my business. Do I have the right to sue him?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Andrew Kevin Jacobson


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have a trademark in your trade name, and you have priority in "your" geographical area. A geographic area can be as small as a few square miles, and as broad as the entire nation. You need to consult with a business lawyer about your rights. Avvo has several goods lawyers from the Sacramento area that can help. 510-208-5500. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is not legal... more
  2. David Nima Sharifi

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As my colleague states you may each have common law trademark rights which extend to a geographic region. However, based on the actual brand in question here and on the nature of the business, it may be ill-advised to permit anyone, former business partner or not, to use the same or confusingly similar name to promote the same service as it may dilute or nullify your trademark. The best strategy here is to negotiate ownership of the trademark vis a vis your ex-partner if this term was not previously negotiated during the split and consider trademark registration as it may prove to be critical.

    If you wish to further discuss trademark protection and enforcement strategy, feel free to contact my office.

    David Sharifi
    L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm

    Main Phone: 310-751-0181. Website: If you have a question about this post or would like to schedule... more
  3. Dana Howard Shultz

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Because trademark disputes are highly fact-dependent, I agree with my colleagues: If you want a definitive answer, you will need to retain a business lawyer who is familiar with trademark law.

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

Related Topics

Trade names and small business

The trade name of your business defaults to the person who owns the business, unless you choose to rename it as a "Doing Business As" name.


Business law covers topics such as business structures, common documents, business taxes and finances, insurance, real estate, and government regulations.

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