Your company has been established in the area for years, or perhaps even for decades. It’s a well-known name, and all of your branding is well established.
That’s why you’re so shocked to find out that another company is using the same name as your business. You feel that this encroaches on your intellectual property rights. What do you need to consider as you look into the potential legal options?
Is any of the other branding the same?
One thing to consider is if this company is trying to copy your business model entirely. Are they using similar colors or logos? Do they have similar taglines or a similar company culture? if they’ve copied more than just the name, they’re clearly trying to confuse consumers and benefit from it financially.
Are they in the same area?
You may also want to consider the geography. Businesses are often allowed to use the same name if they are clearly geographically separate. If the company is in another state, unless your business has national name recognition, then they may be allowed to use the same name that you are. If they’re in the same town, they clearly don’t have that option.
Do they work in the same industry?
Additionally, consumer confusion is created when businesses in the same industry have similar names. This can cause them to misinterpret what they’re buying or who they’re working with. But if the other company clearly works in a different industry, then it’s unlikely that consumers would make the same mistake. For example, if your company makes computer chips and another company works in tree removal, there’s such a vast gap between the industries that similar names may be permitted.
Are they infringing on your rights?
If you go through these steps and determine that the other company is attempting to create consumer confusion and infringing on your rights, then you need to know exactly what legal steps you can take. Branding is very important, especially when it comes to name recognition and the quality of your brand – or the quality that is perceived by consumers. You need to know how to protect that at every turn.