Philadelphia, PA asked in Business Formation, Business Law and Contracts for Pennsylvania

Q: If a business name and entity was stolen or transferred without permission, do I sue or contact local authorities?

Originally started business with sibling who then decided to become sole proprietor without my knowledge. She then made a request for a business name change that she took my name off, stole the business and the name from me along with the logo and documents such as contract agreements that she edited to just her name. On the new application, she applied for a new EIN checking off the reason for request was to process a name change. Originally the business started out with us both on the initial application which I filled out and submitted along with the business name that I came up with myself. Being that it’s a staffing agency serving a multilingual community that had previous relations from an established network already built and that we were providing these services for. The title and choosing of the business name was crucial in the process because it went along with the services and like any name chosen for anything, it’s uniquely and carefully thought out.

2 Lawyer Answers

A: Contacting "local authorities" will probably do no good because this is clearly a family business matter. And unless you can show some actual damages the courts will also be hesitant to get involved. Finally, unless the actual amount of money involved is very substantial it is likely that the cost of litigation would make it not worthwhile to sue. However, since only you can answer these fundamental questions, you should contact an experienced business lawyer to help you decide what you want to do.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
  • Wyomissing, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: You need to at least contact an attorney who handles partnerships as there are issues about breach of trust and other matters that impact this, and to write a letter called a "cease and desist" letter on your behalf. Ultimately you would be looking for some type of Declaratory Judgment and damages. It's a cost/benefit analysis, but cops don't get involved in theft of trade name.

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