If I have a business name that is similar to another business and we do the same work, should I change my business’s name?

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If I have a business name that is similar to another business and we do the same work, should I change my business’s name?

I started my business 2 months after they started theirs. Our names are similar (though not exactly the same but very close) and we do the same specialized work. I have spent a lot of money on a logo, advertising and a website and they have not (have no clue if that matters). They have asked me to change my name. Should I?

Asked on January 27, 2012 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Before you decide to change your business name or not after you have spent a considerable amount of time and money in your endeavor, I suggest that you consult with a business attorney about the situation you are writing about.

You do not want confusion with the public between your business and the competitor's with the general public. You should look into registering your name with your state's secretary of state as a service mark/name. You will need to make an application for such. If you get the service mark and name, you have the use of the name in the state with the exception of common law issues as to a specific geographic area where your competitor may be using it. You might be able to get him or her to change the name of their operations if you get ownership of the name you are using.


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