I make seashell necklaces out of my home, I am not a big business or anything, I just sell them through a local jewelry store in NJ that sells them for me. It's just me, I have nothing registered or trademarked, I just sell them locally and inexpensively as a hobby. I came up with a name, "Peaceful Sea Creations" - just as a cute little name so people can identify me on facebook or wherever. I just recently had a guy contact me from CA who emailed me this: "My name is alfred. You have taken my name which i can prove was my original idea with massive amounts of evidence, (Im a graphic designer). I will proceed in legal action of i do not get a response within 48 hours. Good day. By the way, i own all of the social media sites where "PEACEFUL SEA CREATIONS" is said."
...Should I be worried?
If the letter received is from CA, and a search of the United State Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Division, reflects that he has a registered trademark that predates the use of this name, you may face a suit for violation of his trademark. If there is no such registration, as is likely as you did not receive a letter from a law firm, then you can ignore the letter.
As one of my colleagues has indicated, by adding "of New Jersey, and filing a trade name certificate in Ocean County, or, if incorporated, with the Department of the Treasury of NJ, should protect you. This can be done on line.
At worst, you can create an entity "doing business as" Peaceful Sea Creations of New Jersey" should avoid further issues, but talking to an Intellectual Property attorney is your best bet.
The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice upon which you may rely as I have not been retained for this purpose.
Perhaps. The question is a more complicated one than you might think. The fact that you have a website with the same name may tend to cause confusion among customers. If he was first, then you may have a problem. That said, why not just add "of the Jersey Shore" to distinguish your name from his, file a trade name certificate in Ocean County and in the Secretary of State's office and move on.
Just as an example, Notre Dame University has the little cartoon leprechaun, with his fists up, as a symbol of the school. Red Bank Catholic was using the same symbol for a time, until they received a similar letter to yours, from corporate counsel for Notre Dame. The test is whether there is likely to be confusion among members of the consuming public, In your case, litigating the issue will cost way more than it is worth, and if California is correct, you will lose money in the process, beyond just the cost of the lawyer(s) to defend the lawsuit. I recommend that you speak to an intellectual property lawyer to get more specific information on this issue.
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Yes, this is a concern. That you do not own the web URL and social media sites will be a big problem in marketing your business. I always try to get a name that can have reasonable URL and Social Media connections, You should talk to a good tax and business lawyer about your business and a possible referral to a trademark lawyer.
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