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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 91124
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I created a company which I registered in 2001. I no longer

Customer Question

I created a company which I registered in 2001. I no longer did business in 2005 but wanted to keep the name for the future. It's a unique name that I created while in college in 1991. I found out a couple of months ago that my brother registered the name under his main company name. He uses the name for marketing & is about to make a website as well. I've also noticed one company online using the exact name. It states it was copyright on 2007 which is after me.

I found the registeration of his main company name under the
Ohio with the Sec. of State website. I don't see a fictitious registration of my company name. Sounds like he is using my name wo registering it. I know I'm looking at the docs correctly bc he had a fictitious name registered before. Not sure how to prove this except my convo with him via Yahoo IM.

He told me that my company name is XXXXX XXXXX original business name that I thought he was using the entire time. I see that it doesn't show up on the secretary of state in Ohio. I do see his original business name. From what I remember, you can put many different business names underneath the main one without registering it. He uses my company name to get business but gets paid through the original name. I have no proof of this except what he told me. See, he covers his tracks!

He told me all of this bc I wanted to use the company name again. He stopped me for going forward.

What are my rights in collecting $ that he has received by using my company even though he might not have registered it? He has made over $450k in one year.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
You can sue your brother for violation of your common law trademark and copyright rights if you can prove he is using your name. If he refuses to pay you for the use, then the final recourse is suing and proving you used the name in commerce before him and that the name is XXXXX XXXXX currently registered business and as such he is infringing on your rights. Even if it was copyrighted after your use, if you can show first use, you can defeat his copyright, but it is going to take an attorney and you may only get limited use of the name in a limited geographic area since you did not copyright or trademark the name legally and only had a common law copyright/trademark on the name by using it first in commerce and developing goodwill and reputation with the name.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
How am I supposed to show prove is my point? I only know he did this is because he told me due to I was going to use the company name again. Is their a minimal amount I had to make? What happens if I just registered the name and no business occured on my part?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
If you had the business continuously registered and you would have to show you used it somehow in commerce. If you did not use it then he will argue you abandoned it, and he would prevail.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
There was a time that it was registered but no business monetarily was generated. So, there is no way to protect my company name even if I don't use or generate income?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
If it was not used continuously in commerce and it was not continuously registered, the most you could hope for is some common law copyright which would only entitle you to actual losses, and if you cannot prove you have actual losses from the use I am afraid you do not have much other recourse.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
This is not good news! He got away w this unethical activity. Bc of this, ppl like him others get away with illegal actions and it encourages bad activities. He might have gotten away of this, but he has lost his sister for good.

He is now suffering from an artheritis that can get him crippled. I won't be there for him if it happens. I don't give him moral support anymore. I don't care anymore.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Unfortunately, the law gives maximum protection to those who register their marks and only minimal protection to those who only avail themselves of common law rights and fair or not, that is the way the law operates.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 91124
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
Law Educator, Esq. and 7 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
If I registered the name again here in TX, they will be able to know if he did more to this company name than I know, right?

If they don't see anything, then I can go ahead and register it. Other than registering, trademark and copyrighting, what else do I need to protect this name?

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