Phoenix, AZ asked in Business Formation and Trademark for Arizona

Q: Can my LLC have the same name as a trademarked name? It is in an entirely different industry and geographical location

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Gerity
Michael Gerity
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: There are a lot of variables here that you have not provided, so understand that this answer is making some general comments that may not apply to your exact circumstance. So, in basic terms, multiple businesses can use the exact same name/trademark without conflict so long as there is not a "reasonable likelihood of confusion" created for the relevant consumers. Hence, Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets happily coexist in the market, because nobody gets confused into thinking the faucet company is now flying airplanes and vice versa. There are plenty of times when this isn't true, however. Sometimes, even if the actual products or services are different, they might be in similar sectors that might lead to confusion. Alternatively, if a company has an extreme amount of market recognition of its name (called "secondary meaning"), they will likely enjoy much broader protection across more types of products and services. For example, even if you were going to sell tires, if you called your company "McDonalds" there might actually be consumers who stop and think, "gosh, McDonalds is selling tires now?"

As for geographical locations, understand that a trademark registered nationally (with the USPTO) constructively covers the entire US for its geographical area. It is only with marks used only on a local level that the geographic location plays a role.

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