Blocking a Competitor from Using a Similar Name

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The name of a company is often one of the most important aspects of building a brand, a business and something to remember. The best organizations are known throughout the decades while smaller and minor companies are forgotten in a few short years.

This means that having anyone else diluting the meaning of the business is harmful to the brand and everything in which it stands. When a competitor creates a new organization with similar or the same words, this causes confusion and trouble distinguishing between the other company and the one that has been around for some time.

When a competitor observes that the name of a company is what draws customers, it may appear beneficial to attempt to create a name that is similar or has the same words in the phrase. This action usually causes confusion or could dilute the brand to the point that the product line or services offered are harmed in the process. Weakening the hold on the market or a destabilization may be the goal of some companies that initiate a plan with starting a business with a similar name. However, without the same brand ideas, concepts and awareness, the may eventually see through the second company before legal action becomes necessary.

Stopping the Competitor

In some situations, the competitor may be open to communication. This means he or she may sit down and talk with the other business owner and use a different name after understanding how the brand may be involved with the product or service. If the company has already been launched to the public, using a similar name may lead to confusion, consumer complications and client relations going bad. Approaching the competitor in a civil fashion could lead to a possible arrangement or even a positive association between the companies. However, if communication is not possible, other action may become necessary.

When communication either breaks down or cannot be initiated with the company that has already started using a name that is similar, a cease and desist letter may be needed. This should have a strong compliance deadline attached with possible judicial intervention afterwards if nothing has been done. At this point, an injunction or requesting monetary damages may be the best course of action. Throughout the entire process, a business lawyer should be hired and assisting in resolving this matter. With legal representation, it is possible for the business owner to keep out of most of these procedures and focus on revenue streams and reaffirming his or her brand and company name.

Violations to Trademark or Registered Company Name

There are usually three primary issues when the owner of a company determines if there are any violations to the trademark or registered name of his or her company. These are the relation of the products or services that are offered by the other company, any possible similarities in the company names of both businesses and who first started his or her organization and selling products or services under his or her name. If the assumption may be made that the original person was the one that has determined a violation was made and these three issues are related to the complication, a valid suit may be possible against the other business. The scope of the trademark rights available to the company owner should be understood so that a trademark or business lawyer may be hired to assist with the case. A formal cease and desist letter should be the first step if communication fails, and the hired lawyer may draft this document to the competitor.

Avoiding Legal Entanglements and Lawyer Assistance

Before any legal difficulties arise with a potential competitor, it is important that a name is chosen that is both specific and descriptive. The public records should be consulted to determine if any local or city businesses are named similarly. The first company with a name is usually afforded more rights in the courtroom, so a name that has not been used should be what is eventually registered. If the business owner decides to obtain a trademark, the symbol for this intellectual property legal protection should be added to the name. All records kept must be accurate, up to date and detailed.

A lawyer should help with all processes from beginning until competitors have been blocked from using a similar name. This legal professional is able to advise, assist with documentation and seek a remedy to the situation a competitor causes when using a company name that is too similar to the one the owner chose.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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