Home – New Forums Starting your journey Similar business name to one in the USA

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  • #987225
    Trogdor
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    Hi, I have a question about a business name I’m planning to register.

    Let’s say the name will be ‘One Red Apple’. I just discovered that there’s a business in the USA with a similar name, let’s say ‘Red Apples’.
    My business is in a completely different field to the USA one, so SEO/customer confusion is unlikely to be an issue.

    So far I’ve read a few forum entries here and articles online and it seems that I’m good to go, due to the fact that we’re in different countries, different fields and have a sort-of different name. The reason I’m concerned is that we’ll both be selling globally: both businesses sell a shippable product (as opposed to a location-specific service like landscaping etc). I’ll be selling my products via Etsy, therefore into the USA and elsewhere, and further down the track I may well send my work there to be sold in retail shops, where it will be branded with my business name and will feature a .com web address (not a .com.au).

    I researched the USA business, they seem to be a very small home-based enterprise with a handful of specialist products and only a facebook page at this point, they don’t have a website or any other online presence, but their products are available in several specialist online shops over there. They almost certainly wouldn’t stock their products in the same physical shops as mine, though Etsy sells everything so they may end up selling theirs on there too at some stage.

    If it helps, the new business name I want to register is very similar to my existing business name (they’re kind of sister products) that I’ve had for over 7 years, trading here and the USA & with an established online presence, so it would be obvious to anyone how/why I chose the second business name. As such, it would be very annoying if I had to try and pick a different business name for this second product! A few months ago when I was mulling over launching it, I did a thorough search and there was nothing similar anywhere on the net – this USA business has popped up since then.

    My gut feeling is that the name similarity won’t be an issue, though I’m hoping for some reassurance or advice – thanks in advance!

    T

    #1161712
    Trogdor
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    OK…I’m going to take the silence as a sign I’ve nothing to worry about :)

    #1161713
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    Hi Trogdor,

    Firstly I just want to welcome you to the forums and best of luck with the new venture!

    I am no legal expert but it sounds like there shouldn’t be an issue over the names for all the reasons you’ve stated. There are only so many words you can use in a name, and some common objects no doubt appear in hundreds of business names around the world.

    Good luck!

    Dave

    #1161714
    Trogdor
    Member
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    Thank you Dave! I’m going to register the business name tonight and do a happy dance :)

    #1161715
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi Trogdor,

    Apologies no-one’s replied as yet.

    You’re pretty much correct.

    Names are protected under trademark laws – country by country. And, they are protected in relation to the sorts of goods/services being ‘branded’ by the name.

    So, it’s quite possible to have not just similar names but identical names, in the same country so long as the goods/services aren’t related.

    Working with your example, I wouldn’t think that you have any concerns with the US company you found with a similar name. If they had registered a trademark, in the USA, and your products were the same or similar then they could stop you selling/exporting product into the USA based on that trademark registration.

    Of course, the safest thing to do would be:

    • search the trademarks databases in Australia, USA and any other country to which you export. You may have found this one particular US business that’s not concerning, but others could hold trademark rights that you haven’t seen.
    • Assuming all is well and clear, consider registering your name as a trademark in Australia and other countries in which you sell/promote. As a very general rule, trademark registration will provide the owner with the right to use the name for the goods/services nominated so once registered you’re pretty safe.

    Hope this helps and all the best.
    (PS – if you’d like to send me a PM with the actual names, I am happy to look at it further for you)

    #1161716
    Trogdor
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    Thank you Jacqui! I will do :)

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