As any attorney will be quick to tell you, anyone can be sued anywhere for anything. Fortunately, liability is reserved for situations where the party can prove that your use of the mark CROOKED TEETH - CROWDED TEETH is close enough to other marks as to deceive consumers or be likely to confuse consumers about the source of their own products.
Without knowing more about your specific situation (the products to which you will apply your intended mark as compared to those to which the similar mark(s) are currently applied), no one hear can give you a definitive answer. The trademark application and maintenance process is best left to an experienced intellectual property attorney and my advice would be for you to arrange a consultation with one as quickly as possible.
By the way, your choice of the word "conflicts" is interesting, If the trademark attorney at the US PTO believes there is a likelihood of confusion, your efforts to register the mark will be rejected. Even if it is indicated to be registrable and published for opposition, an owner of a similar mark may file an opposition at the Patent and Trademark office to prevent you from obtaining registration, or even petition to cancel your mark after the fact.
In any case, your interests will be better served if you take your question to an attorney in confidence rather than providing details in an open forum.
I will need further information, but anyone can sue anyone if they pay the appropriate filing fees. The key determination is whether the potential suit will have any merit. You should speak with a trademark attorney who can give you an infringement opinion on your mark versus the similar mark at issue. I am a little confused by your fact pattern when you say I "trademarked my brand name and results came back." Are you referring to a trademark search that revealed potential conflicts or are you referring to your actual application for registration where the USPTO has sent out an Office Action indicating a substantial likelihood of confusion in connection with the marks?
The foregoing response is provided for general informational purposes only and is not a solicitation for business. Please retain an attorney if you need specific legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established until both you and me agree to establish one, and neither transmission of information herein, nor the receipt of such information, constitutes an agreement to establish an attorney-client relationship.
Yes. You can be sued. Anyone can sue anyone for anything anytime anywhere on any basis. Whether they get thrown out of court or win is the question. The call as to whether you get sued will likely be made by the attorney for the owner of the other brand. Put yourself in his or her shoes and remember your client wants their brand protected aggressively and you will likely see fit to avoid any conflict, which is probably the smart business move anyway. You want to come up with a brand YOU can protect, not copy one that cannot be protected as, if you succeed, that just means anyone can copy you as well.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
As every other lawyer here has explained, you can be sued at any time. The issue you should think about is whether you want to change your brand name since there is another company out there using a name that is similar to yours and making it difficult for you to get a trademark registration that you can enforce against others.
You should definitely consult with a lawyer. One option you may want to consider is reaching out to the party cited against you in the office action to see if there is a co-existence agreement that can be reached.
Yes you can. What you want to be concerned about is the likelihood of being sued. Keep in mind that often the reasons as to why something is rejected as being "similar" is not easily understood by the untrained eye. A trademark attorney can help you discern how "similar" it really is. If you proceed and obtain a trademark then you may use it. But it does not mean you can't be sued for using it. When you speak with an attorney and share with him/her the specifics, he/she will better be able to guide you and inform you of potential risks.
This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Select and contact an attorney of your choice to further explore your options.
Another idiom . . . any fool with a filing fee can sue a ham sandwich. If your concerns are being sued, consult with an experienced trademark attorney AND talk to your insurance provider for a trademark infringment rider, then pay for that rider. Depending on your business, you might want to consider other riders as well. If you are sued, your defense would be covered.
The response is based on the information provided. Absent an express agreement, this communication does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.