Altadena, CA asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California

Q: Is it legal to use another business name for a business that they are not in business for? I.e. Coca-Cola software

I ask this because if available I can take another business domain name and I've seen companies that are in a different area of business that has the same name of a entity but doesn't do what that entity does.

1 Lawyer Answer
Julie King
Julie King
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Using another business' name to make money is often a violation of trademark laws. But the answer to your question will depend on the specific facts at issue. For example, Coca-Cola's name and trademark are so well known throughout the world, it would be difficult to think of a situation where you could use that name for any commercial (business) reason. Companies can use the same WORD in different business names, such as Dove soap and Dove ice cream. But, again, it depends on the specific facts in your situation. What name do you want to use? How do you want to use it? Finally, please know that owning the rights to a domain name is not the same thing as owning the trademark rights. Best wishes.

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