Belleville, NJ asked in Copyright and Trademark for New York

Q: My birth name is Tia. My question is how would my name being trademarked effect my ability to use it?

My original birth name is trademarked. How would this effect my ability to use it In business? I would like to use my real name for future Business ideas and brands.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: Generally speaking, trademark law does afford you additional flexibility in using your own name for your own business under the "fair use" doctrine. But you should still be mindful of any potential "likelihood of confusion" with the other brand. Also, avoid using your name in "bad faith" to deliberately deceive the public.

Consult an intellectual property attorney to how to best navigate this issue, but generally you should be okay if you use your own name in good faith with your business.

Giselle Ayala Mateus
Giselle Ayala Mateus
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Before jumping to any confusion it is important to consider that a trademark registration has legal effects with respect to the class of goods or services covering the registration. This means that two trademarks with same name can co-exist if they are registered for different classes of goods or services. That said, it is also important to keep in mind that if you want to use your name as a trademark and personal brand, which happens to be registered unless it is for the same class of goods or services you want to promote it should not be a problem. Finally, if it comes to a point that there is a legal discussion as to the coexistence of the marks, the test is likelihood og confusion. This is whether there is a likelihood that the consumer will be confused. For this purpose many factors are considered bot only the similarity of the marks.

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