I recently started a business, can another business make me change my name?

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I recently started a business, can another business make me change my name?

I founded Christian Military Wives Talk Radio. Right now we make NO money. There is no income. It is a free resource to Christian military wives. Can the founder of Christian Military Wives legally make me change my name? We never say Christian MIlitary Wives, We are Christian Miltiary Wives Talk Radio. If she can make me change the name is Christian Military Wife Talk Radio enough of a change?

Asked on May 11, 2009 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Christian Military Wives Talk Radio is closely identifiable with Christian Military Wives. Your choice of business name can lead to several ramifications or to the development of consequences that could complicate the problem.

On the positive note, it can be argued that the phrase “Christian Military Wives” is descriptive and highly vulnerable to infringement because of its broad applications. With your business, the phrase is the prefix to “talk radio.” Conversely, a new phrase can be affixed at the end of the initial phrase, as in this example: Christian Military Wives Beauty Supplies.

Opting to use “wife” instead of “wives” may have no bearing and it will not substantially alter the characteristic of stark similarity between your chosen business name and the precedent and recognized name.

I suggest you to check whether “Christian Military Wives” is a registered organization. Many states statutes prohibit a corporate name that has a “catchall” phrase such as that one. It is good to know where they stand, and where you stand before heeding further to a particular request that you change your name to another.


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