View Full Version : Is it legal that someone uses my business name in another state?

01-19-2014, 12:53 AM
Ok, my dad owns a business and I have registered his company name strictly for us only. However, I have found out there is another business that has used our company name but in another state. I thought that's against the copyrighted law or something. Is it legal that someone uses my business name in another state?

01-19-2014, 03:07 PM
When you register a company, this is for your state only, not nationally. In order to protect the name, you must obtain a trademark on that name. Trademarks are under federal jurisdiction. I believe it costs less than $500.00

The above link is for "Basic Information on Trademarks".

01-22-2014, 04:40 AM
Like AliceT said, there is a difference between registering a name and getting a trademark on that name. I'm not sure what your expansion plans are but if you are not planning to expand to other states, I wouldn't bother getting a trademark. Just make sure you are the one that get's the best ranking on Google whenever someone Google's the name. This helps a lot.

01-22-2014, 05:20 AM
Good point about google. Then again, if the companies are functioning in different states it's not like the other one will steal your customers. But yes, being first in google is always a great advantage.

01-24-2014, 06:44 AM
Depending on the state laws on whether or not they recognize the laws of other states. Or whether or not there are prohibitions upon such state which used the name of your dad's business. Unless your business is legally registered, the one who registers the name will be the one to be recognized as the first one who taught of the name. It really varies from state to state and the special laws which are involved.

01-25-2014, 12:05 AM
I would definitely look into trademarking to protect the business name. Yes, people can open up businesses in different states with the same name. A business name isn't copyrighted, but it can be trademarked.

01-26-2014, 03:26 PM
It depends on if you have it registered and what license you have it registered under. There are some licenses that causes a name to be trademarked internationally (though, it's very hard to enforce in other countries that are very lax about copyright laws), and some that would stick to being local. Also, it would have to be something that isn't a commonplace word. For example, you can't trademark "Dollar store" because it's a common description, but you could trademark "Antonio's dollar buys" or something along those lines.

01-31-2014, 10:23 AM
Alice is correct. In order to protect your name from being used in other states (and even in other cities within your state) you have to have your business name registered in each state. Then you have to trademark the name. This is the only legal way. But also know that there are many out there who will probably use it (or some variation of it) anyway. Then you have to decide whether or not you want to pursue them for trademark infringement.

01-31-2014, 07:25 PM
definitely depends on the state. although it really does depend on the paperwork that you fill out. does it relly matter though as long as your business is solid and trustworthy it really doesnt matter!

02-01-2014, 12:41 PM
I second the sentiments of the other posters; a registered name is a state matter, you would have to trademark your name to have federally recognized rights to it. That being said though, I think if you're running a small local business, or even on that doesn't extend very far outside of your state then don't even bother trademarking. The exception here would be if you start seeing a fair amount of imitators IN YOUR OWN INDUSTRY. IN that case it' better to work through the red tape so you're business practices can not be mixed up with those of total strangers.

Hope this helped, good luck!

02-01-2014, 02:25 PM
Agree with everyone here. Fictitious names registered in your state are only good for the state. Pursue a Trademark if you wish to expand the brand further.


02-01-2014, 07:01 PM
It's only registered for your state, so yes it would be legal.

02-02-2014, 03:45 PM
Yes, I agree with those that stated that is it legal for the company to use your business name in another state. Bottom line, a business name registered in a particular state is limited to that state. As Rick mentioned, you can apply for a trademark for your business name, however, it can be a lengthy process and it will cost you. Good Luck!

02-21-2014, 02:06 PM
Yes, its State by State. Trademarking can give you the federal lock down on your name. Price is really reasonable too!

02-21-2014, 09:45 PM
Yes, I believe it is done State by State as SofieB said. Glad you found your answer :)

02-22-2014, 01:09 AM
I imagine it would be legal, yes. If the business were in a different area, and especially if they were in another industry, then I think it would be legal for them to use the name. There might be some measures you can take if your business were to go national or international, but I think for small businesses they are just considered as slightly unnecessary expenses.

02-24-2014, 04:20 AM
Simply because company brands tend to be signed up on the state by state foundation, the truth that an organization with in condition has got the exact name title because you own not often an underlying cause with regard to issue.

Still you might be correct in this there might be intelligent house problems (namely, trademark) whenever two businesses have a similar title. For those who have any kind of ideas or even programs with regard to personalisation your company on the countrywide(and not to local) degree, you could be familiar with other people utilizing the exact same or even comparable title.

02-24-2014, 09:21 PM
Yes, this is regulated by state. There needs to be a cutoff point of sorts, because there simply aren't enough names out there. Imagine if Carl's Pizza in Annapolis could sue Carl's Pizza in Buffalo for using their name.

02-24-2014, 11:34 PM
As long as it is in a separate state they are good. You can't really own a name when it comes to being out-of-state. However, naming your business something really off the wall is your best bet in avoiding a duplicate name.

02-25-2014, 07:08 AM
This is done state by state. Hopefully you didn't have a really unique name for the business, that would suck.

02-25-2014, 07:31 AM
Yes if you own the Trademark. At least in my state. A quick Google, wiki search should give you a definite answer to this question. As different states have different laws. Or contact an attorney.

03-06-2014, 01:53 PM
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Date of registration and trademarking may be crucial. If I have had a company operating for a long time and you (from a land far away) suddenly appear with a fresh new trademarked name the same as by business, you aren't going to get too far. This is to prevent people from buying up untrademarked company names and then suing the companies for copyright infringement.

03-07-2014, 05:53 AM
It depends on the law when you are register it on state level or the national level. Your brand logo is protected under the trademark registration.

03-08-2014, 04:18 AM
If you want to protect your company name, you should obtain a trademark on that name. But it depends on the state laws on whether or not they recognize the laws of other states.

11-01-2014, 06:21 AM
As per Trademark law, to stay out of trouble when someone using your business name it is necessary to understand the basics of trademark law. Trademarks are generally in place to prevent your business from using a business name which is like to confuse to competing business.