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Can you use the same name as another business?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2022 | Business Law

As an entrepreneur, the first thing you ever came up with was the name for your new business. It was an idea and an inspiration. It started this whole process and got you closer to your dream of being a business owner.

However, right before you start officially taking steps to create the company, you discover that someone else has a business with the same name. This derails all of your plans and it affects your branding. Do you have to change everything or can you keep the name?

Will consumers see the names as too confusing?

It is true that many businesses are not allowed to use the same names, as that would violate intellectual property rights. But the overall reasoning for this law is that consumers could be confused or misled if multiple companies had the same name. That would be unfair to them – the consumers – and they could be tricked into buying products or services they didn’t actually want.

So you need to look at your business name and check to see if the other business is geographically close to you, meaning there could be some confusion for that reason. You also want to consider if you’re even working in the same type of industry. There are cases where companies in very different industries are allowed to have the same name because there is no chance consumers would mix up the two businesses.

Finally, you just want to think about major international brands. Anything with wide name recognition on a national scale is going to be off-limits.

Starting your business

It’s very exciting to be a new business owner, but you want to make sure you get everything right. Take the time to carefully consider your legal options.