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texlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their intellectual property questions and experienced in IP ligigation.
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I have an idea business name. There is an existing

Customer Question

I have an idea for a business name. There is an existing trademarked name that is very similar and in the same industry, but I can't find evidence that the name is ***** ***** for an actual business. No website or reference to this trademarked name can be found in a Google search. Do I have any chance of using my name without penalty? Can simply adding/changing punctuation make a difference?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  texlawyer replied 1 year ago.
Hello. I'll be happy to assist you.If there is a trademark on the name, even if it's not in use, you cannot start using it without the consent of the trademark owner. As far as making a slight change to the name, that rarely works if the trademark holder brings suit. All they have to do is be able to show that the name and logo is so similar to theirs that it is likely to cause people to confuse the two businesses. My suggestion is that you either wait for the trademark to expire (it expires 10 years after they originally trademarked it if they don't renew it) or contact the trademark holder and offer them some sort of licensing fee to use the name or purchase the trademark outright.