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We need help with enforcing trademark infringement law and cybersquatting problem from a competitor down the road.

Lincoln, NE |

Our business is 29 yrs old. A 6 yr competitor down the road started a website named exactly the same as ours except for a two letter difference (ie "" v."). We offer the same services to the public. I sent a Cease and Desist letter which was never answered. Since then, if the competitor's cybersquatting address is typed in, the same website opens with a slightly altered name. This competitor has meta tags throughout his site using our name, google adwords, you-tube videos, and a facebook page all using our name or similar derivations throughout the written text. Even though our name is "descriptive" (location) we have a reg. state trademark. Times are tough--we can't afford to lose business. Isn't this illegal? Any Suggestions? Thanks!

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Attorney answers 1


Step one is for your own attorney to determine if you, in fact, own the exclusive right to use your geographically descriptive trade name. If you don't own that right, game over. Completely over. There can be no infringement of, or cybersquatting on, nonprotectable trade names.

A state trademark registration is one fact to support your claim of ownership but it is very far from dispositive on the question. While you say that your trade name is "descriptive" it may not be -- it may, in fact, be "generic" [such as the examples you've provided] and, if so, then it can never be protected under the law, no matter how long you've used the name.

But if you do own the exclusive right to use your trade name, then step two is to determine the scope of that right -- both in similarity with other names and geographically.

There's no getting around the fact that you'll need to speak with an intellectual property litigator. Good luck.

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