Table of Contents
Written by : Ava Xiao
Current : 5224
Write a comment
Write a comment
hello i'm tami shambati houston-based attorney and host of ask timmy live and today's question of the day is can i trademark a name that someone else is already using now this is a question i get asked all the time and it's a great question so here's the answer it depends with a strong leaning towards the side of no but it depends and let me unpack that a little bit more why am i saying it depends well let's say you want to use a name that someone else is using but they are not in the same lane as you perfect example we have delta airlines and we have delta faucets delta airlines is operating all the way over here delta faucets all the way over here is it is it likely that someone is going to mix up the two companies do you think that someone who is going who is looking for airlines right booking a flight is going to accidentally try and book a flight with the faucet company no there's not a likelihood of confusion there right and so in such instances where the name that you're trying to use is a name that's being used but in a different industry with different goods and services then yeah maybe if however you're trying to copy the name or do something similar use the name of product or service that somebody is already using even if they haven't already registered it but you're in that same lane you know you're wrong we don't have to talk about like there's a legal side to this but you already know what you're trying to do right um and so we're going to say that that's a no and the law is going to agree and say that's a no because they do not want a likelihood of confusion if you're trying to operate in this area where somebody else has already established their roots why are you trying to do that it's not nice um and the law reflects that they want to look at first on use so when they're looking at who has stronger rights to a name surprisingly it is not the first person to register the name it's the first person to use the name and registration service has proof of your use it's not the only form of proof that can be proffered or provided but it is strong proof and it also provides notice to the rest of the world that hey this is my lane i own this area okay so don't come and play over here right so that is what essentially happens and that's where you get that strong no if it's a similar good similar service then you don't want to do that but if you're in two different areas so we already gave the example of the delta there's also this golfing company called my girl so they're talking about the golf clubs and so they're called my girl golf clubs i don't know why but they've registered a mark when it comes to golf clubs there's another mark when it comes to guess what dolls and clothing and apparel for the dolls that's called my girl they can operate and coexist because they're operating in two different markets they're operating in two different channels they're operating with two different products and services they're not trying to confuse each other they're not trying to steal each other's business they're doing their own thing right and so that's what i want to encourage you to do as well if you see that someone has something that is similar to the name that you want to use or exactly the same it's probably better that you go back to the drawing board and even as a business owner if there is something that is so similar to yours like a lot of times i have people who come to me and they say that oh it's different from mine because mine i have two e's and they have one e or you know let's say they're saying um miss miss stacy's and they're like oh miss stacy with a y and this one is miss stacy with an i well do you want your customers to have to think that hard has to which which company they're trying to deal with from a marketing perspective from a branding perspective that's not what you want because that could cause them to accidentally give the other miss stacey with the y the money that they intended to give you miss stacy with an eye the example i gave is very interesting but essentially that's what you should keep in mind um if you're operating in two different product areas then it might be okay but i also want to caution you when you're deciding what your brand is going to be and the marks you're going to use think about not only what you're currently selling the goods and services that you're using now but the areas where you might as eventually expand into because that can cause you trouble in the future if you expand into an area where there's a mark that already is in use perfect example is apple when apple started there was apple computers that they created but there was also apple music now they thought at the time that yo we're in two different lanes i'm not crossing into your lane we're good right music computers or music computers well what happened over time apple decided the great idea of itunes and and ipods and all of this music related material goods and services that they started to provide and guess what apple music that was saying hey we don't want you to play in our playground when they started was like now you really are making a mistake and guess what apple music got paid a lovely sum of money by apple computers because they were in the right and apple computers was in the wrong so you want to keep that in mind when you're thinking about your name it's like okay right now i'm just selling this but i think i'm gonna sell this this this and this as well let me make sure that those areas i have some type of i'm coming up with some type of strategy to make sure that nobody else is using it and that area remains um protected for me that was a lot i hope it was helpful if it was go ahead and like this video share this video subscribe to this channel and then follow me on social media you can find me at tos legal you can find me on instagram twitter facebook and you can visit my website wwe and let me know if you have any other questions drop a comment below love hearing from you and can't wait to talk to you soon have a great great great week bye bye
Thanks for your comment Rafael Rippentrop, have a nice day.
- Ava Xiao, Staff Member
all right Baron Branson asked me on Quora am I allowed to use a trademark word within my domain address such as Shopify I'm Andre mink of the father of trademark factory and here's my answer to Berens question I hate saying this but it really depends on a couple of things one it depends on what the word is how common it is outside of the brand that it's trademarked for like Apple right if you're selling apples nothing prevents you from using the word Apple in the domain name Apple and the other thing to look at is what your activity is are you trying to create the perception that you're somehow associated with licensed by or endorsed by that other brand and if you do such a thing but then the brand owner would probably have a pretty good case against you not being allowed to put their name and your domain name but if what you're doing has nothing to do with what they do then it should be okay right again two things how uncommon their word is and two are you trying to convince the world that you're somehow associated with them to the specific question of Shopify if Shopify is the word then it could be an issue because it's an invented word that they came up with a they trademarked and yeah so if they feel that whatever you're doing your domain name or your activity behind the domain name somehow threatens the integrity of their brand they'll probably go after you and they're probably gonna be able to win but the rule of thumb here is if you're not sure don't do that because it's a lot easier to build a brand from scratch that doesn't rely on you getting away with what might be perceived as an infringement versus you're just starting out with a name that's new that's unique that you can build some massive value on and claim it as your own this is what Shopify did they didn't call themselves my Amazon if I or you know Walmart fi or something else they came up with our own name and they made that into a name that everyone finds very valuable now Baron I hope this answers your question and if you absolutely hated this video but you watched it all the way up to here subscribe now because you post videos just like this every day so whatever held you watching this up to here there'll be a lot more to come so subscribe now get notified whenever the next one comes live until then I'll see you in the next video
Thanks Mary your participation is very much appreciated
- Ava Xiao
About the author
I've studied quantum optics at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta and I am an expert in policy analysis. I usually feel calm. My previous job was hotel manager I held this position for 9 years, I love talking about compact discs and bonsai. Huge fan of Marcel Pagnol I practice bobsleigh and collect handbags.
Try Not to laugh !
Joke resides here...