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Similar name, different business?

Los Angeles, CA |

I am starting a company and I want a similar name as another company in town . Only a couple letters are different . The business services are entirely different . Is this OK ?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

It doesn't sound like the best of plans. A few characters off can be deceptively similar even if the business is different. However, the factual specifics are important in evaluating your prospects and you've withheld them. You've also not suggested that you've considered the state wide aspects of issue. You should see an attorney to get a better answer

If you find an answer helpful please mark it as such or as the Best Answer. You have asked us to state an opinion based upon stated facts. You have not provided us with any documents, pictures, witness statements or other admissible evidence. The opinions stated are based upon general principles of law unless otherwise stated, which may or may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Controlling law is also subject to change or reversal at any time. Any such changes may be retroactive and could significantly modify the statements and opinions expressed herein. Similarly, any change in the facts and assumptions upon which this opinion is based could modify the conclusions. We opine only as to matters expressly set forth, no opinions should be inferred as to other matters or to treatment of matters not specifically addressed. This opinion represents our best judgment as to the probable outcome of the issues discussed and is not binding on the courts or upon your adversaries. We can give no assurance that an adversary would not challenge our conclusions and prevail in the courts in a manner to cause adverse consequences. With respect to some of the matters discussed in the opinion, existing legal precedent may provide very little legal guidance. Although the opinions and views expressed are based on our best interpretations of existing law and what we believe a court would probably conclude if presented with the applicable issues, we can give no assurance that our interpretations would be followed if the issues became the subject of judicial or administrative proceedings. Realization of certain benefits described is subject to the risk that someone may challenge the treatment and that a court may sustain the challenge. Because you may bear the burden of proof required to establish a fact, the opinions expressed assume the you will undertake the effort and expense to present fully the case in support of any matter that you have asserted and an opponent might challenge. None of the advice provided here may be used to avoid tax liability, interest or penalties. If you want that level of assurance you will need to allow us to perform the full opportunity to explore the facts and law applicable to your specific circumstances. I provide answers here to allow people to see the style of communication and type of analysis applied to factual statements.

Posted

If the similarity is causing consumer confusion between the two companies, and the other company can show that the confusion is costing them business, you could have a problem. Why go there if you don't have to?

This is general information and not meant as specific legal advice for any particular situation.

Posted

Legally it "may" be OK but it's not a good idea, commercially or legally. While your investment is low, seek originality so you are not always having to justify a "technicality" in the future.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

Demosthenis Zeppos

Demosthenis Zeppos

Posted

The names can be similar (sometimes the same) if the businesses are distinct and not compettive, but more importantly, that the similar names do not create confusion in the market place. Simply getting a DBA will not suffice, and in some instances, applying for a U.S. Trademark may be a possible solution.

Posted

The senior user of a mark can oppose an application even if the business services are entirely different. The Trademark office will look to see if the earlier users mark is strong and the customer perception of the senior mark. If you are offering services in the same town and the marks are are the same/similar in appearance, pronunciation, connotation and commercial impression it could be confusing to customers.

I agree with other answers here that if you intent to go down this path, it is worth consulting a lawyer.

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