Intellectual Property
Citation and References

Can you use a company name that has been trademarked?


Top Answer
User Avatar
Wiki User
2007-04-05 21:58:38
2007-04-05 21:58:38

You may be able to if your use of the name doesn't diminish in any way the value of the trademark, but if there is any way in which your use of the name might cause confusion for the customers of the trademark holder, they will probably fight your use of the name. Bottom Line: Discuss your plans with a business-savvy attorney If by "use the name" you mean open another company using the same (or similar) name, the quick answer is "possibly", but you need to do a little research first. This is called a "clearance" search. :Note: This presumes you do not already have superior rights to use the trademarked name, say, if you were using it well before the other company came along. A company name, by itself, cannot be trademarked -- it has to be associated with some specific product or service before it becomes a "trademark." If the name you're interested belongs to a company that sells things completely unrelated to yours, or only in a very distant place from you, you might be okay. But not necessarily, depending upon how "famous" the name is already. You could not, for example, market a hockey puck called "American Express" without having a chat with their lawyers. Similarly, Hostess brand hockey pucks might not fly very far. This is because those brands' owners can prevent "blurring" and "tarnishing" of their brands by others who may want to take advantage of pre-existing brand recognition, even if nobody is confused about who makes the product. You might do a "Little Wendy's Shoe Polish" product, but not a "Wendy's Drive-In Shoe Shine," because the latter mimics the existing fast food chain. A company with a valuable trademark will often register its rights (in a state or federal registry) and you can start by researching the scope of protection they claim. On the other hand, they are not required to register a brand, so there may be other things they sell that are not included in any of the registrations. If you are going to put a lot of money into the marketing of your company, you should budget a few thousand dollars for an intellectual property attorney to "clear" the use of the trademark before you proceed. A large US company might pay $50,000 or more in worldwide clearance search and opinions, only to find someone else already has used a similar brand in a similar way. To avoid trouble, they start over with another name. Once you know what they claim, you can compare your product/service with theirs, look at the marketing channels you both use, look at both your customer bases, and other factors. If there is ANY overlap, you should be very careful. It would be a shame to devote a lot of effort to build up a brand only to lose it later and have to start over with a safer one. If by "use a company name", you mean "refer to a company name" that has been trademarked, e.g., use it for comparison, or to link to their website, or say you live next door to it, the rules are different. You may legally "use" the name XYZ in your own materials (say, an eBay advertisement) if all you're saying is that the product was made by XYZ (click here for their product info), or even that the thing you're selling is compatible with XYZ. Similarly, in advertising your own products, you could say that yours is "a working replacement for XYZ" or "better than XYZ" if you have proof that the statement is true. You can say, "we hired all the former XYZ engineers before the company collapsed", as long as it's true. However, you may not use a company name that is trademarked if all you're doing is coat-tailing on the fame of its trademark, such as "Our Disney souvenirs are cheaper than the licensed ones!" Many large companies also strongly object to your use of their brand names in meta-tags or hidden text on websites, let alone using their proprietary graphics as "links" to their websites without a license. They have the right to control the source and quality of any affiliate, and to prevent others from falsely claiming an affiliation. Even under so-called "fair use" of a product trademark, you may still get sued for mis-use and it will cost you thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees even to reach a settlement.


Related Questions

Yes; it was registered in 1934 and has been in continuous use.

yes the New York Yankees name is trademarked you could be sued if you were to use the "Yankees" name as your own yes the New York Yankees name is trademarked you could be sued if you were to use the "Yankees" name as your own

More information is needed in order to answer. Use it HOW? Use it WHY? The names of corporations and their company tradenames are trademarked and copyrighted - unless you are just coincidentally referring to product by name it may well be protected.

Call a moving company. You should find answers there. [Note: this page contained the trademarked name of a specific moving company, which asked that their name be removed.]

No; words and phrases are only trademarked for use in commerce.

Yes. It was first used in commerce in 1866 and will be protected until it is no longer in use.

Midway Games West, Inc. seems to have, however this is also being debated. It's not so much that someone can't use the name in their company, it's just that as it's an actual place name, the company should not be able to keep others from using it. It would be like trademarking "Texas".

Yes it is. The trademark is owned by Major League Baseball Properties.Actually-the logo is trademarked by MLB. You are able to use the font itself, but you cannot duplicate the team name AND font

If the name is already being used in commerce, the older business can claim a "common law" trademark.

In the realm of business, a company’s brand is paramount. It’s how the company is known to customers and investors, and it distinguishes the company from all the other companies out there trying to compete in the marketplace. And so, the name itself is an supremely valuable commodity. In turn, like all valuable commodities, you want to protect your name, and make sure that it continues to signify the excellence your company embodies. Our legal system provides the perfect tool for this protection: the trademark. Trademarking your name is essential. Here’s how to do it.- Step One: Can it be trademarked?For you to trademark your name, you need to make sure that it is the name you use to signify your particular company and its products. The name must be your company’s face that it shows the world. The name needs to be displayed either on the products you sell, or during the sale and advertising of your services.- Step Two: Make sure the name is yoursOnce you’ve determined your name can be trademarked, do a trademark search to make sure that the name isn’t already trademarked by someone else. If you’re unlucky, and someone has already trademarked your name, you’ll have to get a new one quickly.- Step Three: The paper trailSo if the name is yours and yours alone, it’s time to fill out the requisite paperwork. You can do this easily on the Internet, or you can get hardcopies of the application from the Trademark Assistance Office.Then just sit back and wait for a response. The application will be read by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), and if everything is copacetic, you’ll be the one and only company allowed to use your name. After that, it’s time to go out and build your brand!

You should check weather the band's name is trademarked or not. If it is, then no, you cannot use its name for a book title. If not, go right ahead. Although it's not very original or creative to use someone else's name.

Not for commervial reproduction. It is trademarked.

Individuals who are starting a new company or are marketing a new product must be careful not to violate the trademark of any existing person or corporation. Company names, logos and slogans which are registered with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) are protected under law. Violation of trademark law can result in lengthy and expensive court proceedings. Checking to see if a name is trademarked before using it is the easiest way to avoid legal proceedings and bad press. It is sometimes easy to determine if a certain name or logo is already trademarked. Many trademarked names carry a superscript TM when they are printed. An individual who sees a TM can rest assured that a company or product name cannot be used by anyone but the holder of the trademark. It is also generally safe to assume that the names of major, well-known companies are trademarked and should not be used without that company's permission. Whether or not a name is trademarked may not be apparent in all cases. Individual who wish to find out if a name is trademarked can use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) offered by the USPTO. Users can take advantage of several search options to determine if words, designs or names are already trademarked. If a name has been trademarked, users can view who holds the trademark, when it was issued and any legal battles that may have occurred over the trademark. It is important to keep in mind that TESS is not a perfect system. Occasionally users will not be able to locate information about an existing trademark and may believe that the name is available for use. Prior to launching a business or marketing campaign, individuals should consult with a lawyer who specialized in patents and trademarks. An attorney can make a thorough search of the USPTO database and can advise clients of any potential issues with the name they wish to use. Carefully vetting names for their trademark status can save individuals from expensive legal battles. Changing the name of a business or product due to a legal ruling is often detrimental and can confuse customers. It is always best to double-check for trademarks when beginning a new business or organization.

A franchise is formed when a company sells limited rights to a third party. This third party has rights to use a brand name and sell patented, trademarked, or otherwise protected products or services. In exchange, they will owe a portion of profits to the parent corporation.

It that company holds the trademark, yes. Otherwise, this has the potential to be considered infringing, especially if the intent is to defraud consumers by implying an association with the owner of the trademark.

Yes, when you incorporate your company you will have to choose some variation of Incorporation, Company or Corporation after your company name. You will need to choose either Incorporated, Inc, Company, Co, Corporation, or Corp. This is a requirement for incorporating a company. This will be the official name of the company but you do not have to use the Inc when you promote your company.

The term "zombie" is not trademarked, however, it is a trending custom in most zombie films to use other words, such as undead, walkers, them, and other words except for zombie.

No. If an image is trademarked for anything, you need specific permission from the owner of the image in order to use it. No matter what you use the image for, the owner of the image can still sue you for copyright infringement (I've seen it happen).

You almost can never trademark something if you are just using it for personal use.

In a company name such as "ABC Corp," do not use a comma. However, use a comma in the formulation, "ABC, Inc."

The name Tax Shelter is already taken . The company is located in Athens GA.

It depends. If it's a specific Brand Name then yes. If it's a word that is a brand name but also accepted generally then you have to be a bit more specific, so no. For Example: This is some wonderful bread on this sandwich. <--- General Use My sandwich is made with Wonder Bread. <---Trademarked Product Hand me some Velcro strips, please. <--- Trademarked Product

Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.