It is a serious problem if your business is confused with another one. This is particularly true if that other business has problems that negatively reflect on yours instead. For example, if your business is named “Ice Cream Palace” and someone else has “Ice Crème Palace,” then you could certainly face confusion from your audience. If the other business goes viral for bad service or closes its doors, your audience could end up being confused about your business, too.
Having two businesses with similar names is sometimes possible, but legally speaking, it is not lawful for any business to use a trademark in connection with their goods or services if those are similar enough to another business’s trademark to cause confusion. If this kind of problem affects your business, then you may want to look into filing a claim to settle your business dispute.
Should you get a trademark to protect your business?
A trademark could help you protect your business and its reputation. Trademarks usually protect logos and brand names that you use on your goods or when performing services. If you want to make sure that other confusing or similar logos are not allowed, then trademarking your own first is a good idea.
You should note that registering your business name or getting an official domain name won’t automatically give you trademark protections. To get a trademark, you’ll need to apply through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Before you can get a trademark, you will have to search for similar marks in the USPTO database. If someone else already has a similar trademark, then you will not be able to use yours. If you’re having a dispute with someone over the branding they’re using and haven’t yet registered your own trademark, check through the USPTO to make sure that the other business is in the wrong.
The complexities of trademark law and business litigation surrounding misunderstandings and the misuse of branding or other brand-specific information can feel overwhelming. If you’re considering litigation over a business dispute, learn more about your legal rights in your state before you proceed.