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  • Naming your business and copyright issues

    I am considering going by a business name for my freelancing, rather than my own name. Someone is currently using the name I have chosen, in the form of "Businessname Design". I want to use the form "Business Name Design". They are also located in a different state than I am. Is it okay for me to do this? Is it considered the same name or a different one?

  • #2
    Check with your state government website.

    It also may depend on what type of business they have.

    In my state if you have a Sole Proprietary you can't copyright your business name. Which means your competitor could use the same name without any legal issues. If you own an LLC it's different.

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    • #3
      Hi Makestuff and welcome to GDF.

      We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
      Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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      • #4
        You don't copyright business names. You trademark them...
        If in the US, you're better off checking with the USPTO.
        Here's their page about trademark infringement:
        https://www.uspto.gov/page/about-trademark-infringement

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        • #5
          You're probably fine but it's worth it to have a quick check with a business attorney. The last headache you need is to get tied up in the legal affairs of the other company by mistake.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
            You don't copyright business names. You trademark them...
            If in the US, you're better off checking with the USPTO.
            Here's their page about trademark infringement:
            https://www.uspto.gov/page/about-trademark-infringement
            I was thinking in terms of logo when I mentioned copyright. Thank you for the info though, I'll check it out.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
              You don't copyright business names. You trademark them...
              If in the US, you're better off checking with the USPTO.
              Here's their page about trademark infringement:
              https://www.uspto.gov/page/about-trademark-infringement
              Although I suppose as long as the name isn't trademarked and the logo isn't visually the same, it probably wouldn't be an issue.

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              • PrintDriver
                PrintDriver commented
                Editing a comment
                I wouldn't make that assumption.
                The thing is, not everyone applies for a trademark. You could scoop this guy if you register yours first.

                And since you are paying, the USPTO will make the judgment for you that will stand up in court.

                <not a lawyer.

            • #8
              While you as the artist have a copyright on the logo artwork, and as a business owner that artwork copyright is granted to you on payment, in the business world, to register a trade name/business name, you trademark it. The Copyright Office has nothing to do with it at that point.

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