What do I do if someone claims that I have stolen their business name?

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What do I do if someone claims that I have stolen their business name?

I make seashell jewelry out of my home; I am not a big business or anything, I just sell them to a local jewelry store that sells them for me. I have nothing registered/trademarked, I just make/sell them as a hobby. I came up with a name, just as a cute little name so people can identify me on facebook or wherever. I just recently had a guy contact me from another state who emailed me this: “My name is Alfred. You have taken my name which I can prove was my original idea with massive amounts of evidence (I’m a graphic designer). I will proceed in legal action if I do not get a response within 48 hours. Good day. By the way, I own all of the social media sites where “X” is said”.

Asked on November 21, 2014 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Maybe it is time to apply for a business name and see what is available that is similar but not a potential infringement.  There are some instances when using the same name is ok, like if you sell drastically different products.  Then it may not be infringement.  Also, geographic location could make a difference.  It may be a good idea for you to take further steps in your business venture to insure there are no infringement issues.  Good luck.


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