Will I get in trouble for opening a business with the same DBA name as my current employer?

They have an INC with a different name but are operating under the same DBA. I'm trying to copyright and trademark their logos currently. Will I get in trouble for doing this in Texas?

Mckinney, TX -

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Attorney Answers (7)

Lee Keller King

Lee Keller King

Litigation Lawyer - Sugar Land, TX
Answered

The short answer is "probably yes." The facts you give are a bit ambiguous and that makes it harder to give a complete answer, as this area of the law can be quite complex.

If you are a current employee and are working to copyright and trademark your company's logo for your company, you probably have a duty to not appropriate the name for yourself. Every such situation is different, but at the very least they can terminate your employment.

In the worst scenario, you may be held to owe a fiduciary duty to your employer as its agent. In that case, you would be held to the highest ethical standard known to the law in matters related to your agency. This would include not only a duty of absolute fairness to your employee, but also a duty to place its interests before your interests.

If, on the other hand, you have been trying to copyright and trademark the company's logo for yourself, you have other problems. For one, it appears from you question that you did not create the logo as you company was already using it (or it was a "work for hire"). You cannot validly copyright a work that you did not create.

Second, you cannot trademark a logo, trademark or service mark if you have not used it in commerce and swear under oath that to the best of your knowledge no one has a superior right to use it. You can't do that here as your employer is already using the Mark.

Your best bet is to play it straight and not attempt to take their Mark. Defending a suit such as the company can bring against you could cost you tens of thousands of dollars, or more. (I was recently involved in a trademark case where the defendant attempted - unsuccessfully - to recover nearly $800,000 in attorneys fees).

Orsen E. Paxton III

Orsen E. Paxton III

Business Attorney - Arlington, TX
Answered

There are no guarantees in the law, except maybe for your situation. I can almost guarantee you will be sued and lose. When you factor in that you have disclosed what you are doing on a non-confidential public forum that can actually be used as evidence against you, one has to question the chances that you will succeed in business.

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
Sarahjane Davidson

Sarahjane Davidson

Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Houston, TX
Answered

Surely you know the answer to this already. What you intend - trying to copyright and trademark someone else's intellectual property - is theft, among other things. And while you are working for the employer . . . pretty bad acting. I would be happy to represent the employer in the lawsuit against someone doing that.

J Charles Ferrari

J Charles Ferrari

Immigration Attorney - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

Yes, you will.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not... more
John E. Whitaker

John E. Whitaker

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Seattle, WA
Answered

Yes, almost certainly you would get in trouble. The only reason you want to use that name is to trade off the good will that has already been established. Stay completely away from that tact and just come up with a new name. There are probably a million words in the English language; and there are an infinite number of other words if you just make one up. Do that instead.

Maurice N Ross

Maurice N Ross

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - New York, NY
Answered

Of course. This is not even a close question. Your employer will have grounds to sue you, and chances are that you will have to pay its attorneys fees as costs, as well as the amount of any damages that you cause.

Mario Sergio Golab

Mario Sergio Golab

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Miami, FL
Answered

Let me see if I understood your question. You ask whether you will get in deep doodoo if you impersonate another business registered in TX, and furthermore, you misappropriate their creative products and business brand? I think there is a fair change you will not get away with it, but In TX I cannot answer, anything is possible.
If the business is not registered in TX, and the name is available then you could use the same dba, in TX. As to (c) and federal TM definitely no

USPTO Registered Patent Attorney, Master of Intellectual Property law, MBA I am neither your attorney, nor my... more

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