QUESTION: I bought a domain, then found there is an Etsy shop with the same name. Does this person have legal claim to the name? I am in the beginning stages of starting an ecommerce business, came up with a name, and bought the domain. I just found an Etsy shop with the exact same name that has been active for a few years. Does this Etsy shop owner have legal claim to the name enough that it would prevent me from trademarking and moving ahead? Would she be able to sue me or take any legal action against me?
ANSWER: The right to use a trademark goes to the first user of the trademark. Simply registering a domain name does not constitute trademark use. Therefore, the person who has been using the name for his/her Esty store likely has the right to use the name – as between the two of you.