What to do if a person who liked our business name claims to have registered our company’s trademark and they now want us to buy it from them?

We have checked USPTO online and found no registration. What can happen to us/our business name if we ignore this issue? Currently, we don’t have the funds to try and register our name and maybe lose money if here really is an application in the works.

Asked on September 23, 2015 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Tradmarks are not registered or enforced in a vacuum they are registered for certain goods or services and for valid registration, the goods or services must be in commerce or will shortly be in commerce. The trademark has much less--possibly zero--enforceability against other businesses in very different lines of work or selling to very different markets, since the likelihood customer confusion what trademarkes fundamentally protect against is low. d on what you write, if someone claims to have registered the trademark does not in fact have a business doing similar things to you, there is a more-than-reasonable chance that he does not in fact have a registered, or, if registered, enforceable against you, mark. Do what you are doing check with the PTO if there is a registration in the works. Check also with your state's department of state to see if he registered this business name in your state. If the answer is "no," or if he is in the process of trying to register the name but does not have goods or services anything like yours in commerce, you are probably fine.


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