Intellectual Property Law
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are the two companies in the same class (field) of goods/services?
also, has your company been using the name longer than they have been using theirs?
Yes, we both provide child care services. They have 500 centers all across the nation, 58 of them in New Jersey. They will be moving into Fort Myers in the fall.
I believe they trademarked their name in 1988
so you are in Florida, and they have thus far not been in florida at all?
I believe they also have a center in Orlando, which is about 4 hours north of here.
were they in Florida in 2000 when you started using the name?
I have not found that out, but can look into it further.
if not then they should not be able to prevent your use of the name
unless they had a registered federal TM before 2000
yes, it will depend on when they got their federal TM and also when they started using the mark in florida
but these situations are rarely cut and dry since TM law is not so clear cut
I believe they trademarked their name in 1988. How much does trademarking a name involve, is there a website to look at?
but if you have been using the name in florida longer than they have, then you have a good position
you can see their TM registration on the USPTO website/database
www.uspto.gov (go to trademarks, then search trademarks)
I just looked at their website, they have SEVERAL child care centers all over the state, no dates as to when each opened, but with more research, I may be able to determine that
if they had it registered in 1988 and were already a national/large entity by 2000, then you may have a conflict, although its rather late for them to be coming after you
you can argue "laches" defense also...ie i have been using this name since 2000 and they have not been around or cared to complain so it would be unfair to make me change names now
yes, do some more research and then call a local TM attorney
Thank you very much for your help!
sure best of luck!
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