Columbus, OH asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Ohio

Q: Can I trademark a business name if a similar business exists already, but they did not trademark the name?

My business name is very similar to that of another business in a different state. We both provide the same type of services. Being in different states there's no problem, but at the end of 2023 the government is supposed to open up cross-State Licensing. I have no intention of performing business in their specific state, but I want to be able to use my name in any other states I choose without issue. I have used TESS and I know that my business name has not been trademarked, nor has their name. I'm new, and they are well established. If I succeed in trademarking my name, will they be able to sue me for "stealing" their name? Even though I didn't. Will the fact that they exist (even un-trademarked) make my trademark application be declined? Thank you!

2 Lawyer Answers
Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: As the prior user, the other business could take action to terminate your use, even without a trademark registration. Registration is not required to obtain legal rights in a mark and the ability to terminate infringing uses. Use the Find a Lawyer tab to retain a local intellectual property attorney who can review all the facts of the situation and advise you of potential problems.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta

A: Agree with Mr. Jaap

You should consult with an attorney.

Your plans can be at risk.

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