What to do about an LLC that is using the same name as a DBA?

UPDATED: May 24, 2012

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What to do about an LLC that is using the same name as a DBA?

We own small sprinkler company and have been in business and have had a DBA for 23 years. I just found out that there is another sprinkler company in the state, 2 hours away, using our name. The only difference being that they have LLC after the name; we do not. They have only been in business for 11 years. Is this legal?

Asked on May 24, 2012 under Business Law, Michigan


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In Michigan, the problem exists with the filing of the business name when a company initially performs their entity search. By adding "LLC" to their business name, often times the State will view that as a separate entity from all other companies that may be using that name, but not filed as a LLC. For example, "Bill's Chop House" and "Bill's Chop House LLC" will be considered two separate business and legal entities. Michigan will allow "Bill's Chop House" to fill for any assumed names to prevent other companies from using its name, but it must be done before "Bill's Chop House LLC" is created. If you believe that this other sprinkler company has infringed upon your business name for profit, then you can sue for infringement, but it must be proven that they have indeed profited off your business name and not on their own works and efforts.

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