Allentown, PA asked in Business Formation, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania

Q: Hi, I want to start running leadership trainings by a certain name. I found another company that does yoga trainings

Hi, I want to start running leadership trainings by a certain name (let's say ABC trainings). I've done a google search and found another company with the same name that teaches yoga trainings (ABC yoga trainings). Can I still use the company name or is this a bad idea? We're both in the spiritual field. I don't teach yoga. My trainings are more foced on leadership and spirituality. Thoughts? Thank you

2 Lawyer Answers
Michael Cherewka
Michael Cherewka
  • Wormleysburg, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Much of answer here is going to be dependent on how the yoga company "registered" its name (or if it even registered its name). If it is only a Fictitious Name Registration (which is more of a "notice" filing in Pennsylvania than an "ownership" filing) or the filing of an LLC or Corporation name, then it is often easy to distinguish the name by making your name "ABC Leadership Training" or something similar so that your name is different (or not confusingly similar). If there is a Servicemark or Trademark registration involved rather than just a name, then some additional research or planning may be required before you can proceed to file your own Mark so it does not infringe on the current Mark.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Using a business name that's already in use, even in a slightly different field, can be risky, as it may create confusion or lead to trademark issues, particularly if the name is trademarked. You should conduct a thorough trademark search, not just a Google search, to see if "ABC Trainings" is trademarked.

If it is, the existing company could potentially assert their trademark rights against you, especially since both companies operate in related spiritual domains. Even without a trademark, if the other company has established common law rights by using the name in commerce, they might have a claim against you.

It's usually advisable to choose a unique name to avoid potential legal disputes and to establish a distinct brand identity. Consulting with legal counsel to navigate this decision and ensure you're not infringing on another's intellectual property rights would be a prudent step.

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