Q: We took over a restaurant in boardwalk by jersey shore, other restaurants has same name
In a brief I took over a pizzeria and restaurant in jersey shore boardwalk, the pizzeria name are also named to about other 4 restaurant in the same boardwalk but with different way, like one is named original....., other name restaurant and pizzeria, other named (...... 4)., mine is name (.... Cafe). They all owned by diffenrt owners , now after I took over I had a called from the ( original......) owner, and he asked me that I have to take name down , I called the previous owner who I took the store from and he said they keep bugging all the other stores every summer to change the name , I belive the name is not trade marked since many other has same name,, my question how should I respond and what they can do if they are not trade marked, also does the difference in words give me free of mind like his bussines is the original....., mine is .... Cafe, also if I receive any thing from him, should I ignore it or what should I do
A: Generally speaking, a business does not have to register a trademark in order to have trademark rights. There are common law trademark rights that are acquired by use of the mark. Using a trademark that is confusingly similar may be deemed infringement. However, if your mark was in use before the other users' marks, then in it possible that your mark has priority. You should consult with a trademark attorney to determine your rights in this matter, perhaps you have priority rights, or if not, perhaps you have a defense against the other "original" user for not enforcing their trademark rights within a reasonable amount of time.
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