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Michael
Michael, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Experienced Business Lawyer
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My S corporation is named Blue Moon Editorial Services, Inc. I would like to expand into publishing books. Two years ago, when getting an ISBN number block for future books that I will publish, I was told I could not get the numbers under Blue Moon Editorial Services (they do not issue ISBNs to editorial services because of possible abuse). Therefore, I got the ISBNs under "Blue Moon Publishing." Now that I am (finally) ready to publish a book, I realize there is already a "Blue Moon Publishing." What are my options? I don't mind coming up with a new name for the publishing "arm" of my business, but I'm not sure what I need to do. For example, will I need to legally register the new name as a "subsidiary" or something of Blue Moon Ed.Srv Inc?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
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Expert:  Michael replied 4 years ago.
Hi there, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a business law attorney with experience in all aspects of business law. I'll do my best to assist you.

Your concern here would be trademark infringement. If you used a name already associated with another entity, which would be confusing to consumers, you might be liable for infringing on their trademark. If you have the exact same name in the same industry, there is a very high likelihood of a finding that the names would be confusingly similar.

While you don't necessarily need a legal registration of a "brand" and such, it is prudent to take a few simple steps. Probably the easiest way to address such an issue would be to register a fictitious name, or "DBA", with the PA Department of State. This would associate that name with your existing business entity. That would allow you to use the name in a legal sense (for banking, official forms, etc.). You can find the appropriate form here: http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/corporation_bureau/12457

You should of course choose a name that is unique, and would not be confused with any other entity, particularly in your location and industry. You should do a Google search and a US Trademark Office search to at least get a basic idea if anyone else has a right to it - that should help prevent a repeat of the situation you're in. Particularly once you start using and investing in your brand, changing it would not be such a simple matter. Getting an opinion from a trademark attorney prior to using the brand is always a good idea. Also, consider registering your brand as a trademark with the US PTO for additional protection.

I hope this answer has been helpful. I'd be happy to further clarify my response and follow up with any other questions. If you're satisfied with my answer, remember to hit the "accept" button. Bonuses and positive feedback are always appreciated! -Michael
Michael, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 58
Experience: Experienced Business Lawyer
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