Similar Company Names

Posted by Michael Shimokaji | Jul 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

Question: I have received a letter from my competitor's attorney stating that my company name infringes on their trademark. I disagree.

 Let's say my pseudo business is running a home health care service called “Tender Heart Home Care Service”. My competitor's trademark name is “Home Care, Inc.” The owner runs six businesses under this corporation, including a medical supply company and handicapped transportation business. Each business shares the word “Home” in their name. The business in my industry (home health care) is called “Home Stay”.

 I'm hoping that you get the gist of my dilemma even with the false names/industry I provided. I chose “Tender Heart Home Care Service” because I felt there was no similarity to my competitor's “Home Stay” name in this particular industry.

 Does my competitor have a legal leg to stand on? Or is she simply posturing, hoping to run me out of business?

 Answer: Assuming among other things that your competitor was using its trademark Home Care before you started using your trademark, and that you compete in the same geographic market, if you simply add words to Home Care to create your trademark, there is probably a trademark infringement issue for you to address.

About the Author

Michael Shimokaji

Michael’s expertise includes the strategic development of patent and trademark portfolios. He identifies those patents and trademarks that are valuable to his clients by providing them with a competitive advantage. Then, Michael obtains patent and trademark registrations in the US and abroad.

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