What do I need to do if I have a business name that I want to use?

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What do I need to do if I have a business name that I want to use?

I have found the name in use 5 times across the country but not registered in my state. They are all label printing companies and all provide the same service of label/sticker printing. My business is private label skincare products, but we do offer graphic/label design services as one of the other businesses does as well. There is only 1 trademark registered with the name but it has something to do with chemical manufacturering, so that shouldn’t be a problem I wouldn’t think. So do you forsee any problems if I use that name?

Asked on December 10, 2014 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If it's not registered in your state, you could register under that name. You should not, based on what you write, have a problem with the registered trademark unless that company has some division that provides goods or services similar to your own, operating under that registered mark, in addition to their main line of chemical manufacturing. Therefore, it is likely you can use the name you have chosen. However, you might not be able to register that name as a trademark, since if there are already five companies using the name who provide services similar to what you do (the graphic/label services), it may be that the name would not have sufficient distinctiveness as to support a trademark. Therefore, if you wish to trademark your name, you may wish to come up with a different one.


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