Help! Someone else is using my trade name...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PersonalTouchLawnCare, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. PersonalTouchLawnCare

    PersonalTouchLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    :help: I ran into a guy today who has the same Company name on his trailer as I use and advertise with. I confronted him in changing his name but he does not feel he should. I am registed with the State and do pay my taxes however, I am not sure how legal this gentleman is. I am fearfull that his type of work may turn potential customers away from me due to the same name in use.

    Any suggestions or ideas for a plan of action if any?

    Thank you all and good luck the rest of the year!
     
  2. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    I would think that you have legal right to your name, but I'm not sure. My best advice would be to contact your lawyer.
     
  3. jgc8fan

    jgc8fan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Contact your tax collector/licensing office. I'm sure they would be interested in this. We almost could not use our name (C & J Landscapes) because another company in Palm Beach (about 300 miles away) was using the name C & J Landscaping. It turned out okay because they wound up being far enough away, but they usually take company names pretty seriously due to legal issues... They don't wanna find out they gave the wrong person a fine. If you are registered for that name then you have to be like Coca Cola and protect it.

    (Now wishing we'd used a different name due to the fact that there is also a C & J Portable Toilet company in town. "Hey $#!T boys!!! How's the $#!T work???" LOL)
     
  4. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,401

    I go to my suppliers and 2 other companies seem to have my name. Mines incorporated so I am not sure how I got it through if it was taken or if they let the name go or of they started after me. No idea but I have yet to see them so it does not bother me to much yet if I was in the same town I think I would have a different opinion
     
  5. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 983

    Do they have EXACTLY the same name?

    In INDIANA (not sure about Ohio) you can have VERY SIMILAR names.

    I am GRASS BUSTERS and am registered in the 2 counties that I do business.

    There is a GRASS BUSTERS, INC. (came after I did) that is located about 50 miles to the north of me.

    There is another GRASS BUSTERS registered in another county about 70 miles away.

    I am not worried about there being any confusion/infringement since we are all so far apart.

    If they are using EXACTLY the same name & you are properly registered & recorded in that county, then you might be able to stop them from using the name. More likely, they would just change the name EVER SO SLIGHTLY & still be able to use it. It is not like we are COCA-COLA!!!!

    MIke
     
  6. ProfessionalTouch

    ProfessionalTouch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    For a minute I thought you had my name lol.. :dizzy:
     
  7. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    The strange thing I discovered when I registered my business name in Virginia was, you could use the same exact name as another company, if the other company was not incorporated. Now they have a database you're supposed to search through, presumably you wouldn't want to use a name thats already being used. My friend just incorporated his computer business, and his lawyer told him that name protection depends on what kind of incorporation your business has.

    I guess you could be in business for years, another guy could come along with the same name after you and incorporate, and you'd have to change names. Kinda screwey.
     
  8. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Take what I say with a grain of salt, because I am no Trademark lawyer. But I do have some knowledge of this since I was threaten to change my name from someone in another state.

    If you have a federal trademark then you can make him change his name. If you don't have a trademark, then it comes down to common law trademark. This only helps if you are operating in the same area. The person that can prove they were using the name in commerce first, has rights over it.
     
  9. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    This information is exactly correct. Unless your company name is Trademarked with the Fed's then it is common ground for others to use. Also if you have what would be considered a "commonly used name" say for example "USA" Lawns then most times they will not allow something that is commonly used "USA" to be trademarked by anyone.
     
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    This is true, however, on a smaller level, it is usually not able to be done through the county clerk's office. We have to register our DBA's there. If one name is already taken (or even close), they are not supposed to let the second party use it. This has happened up here with a company named "Ground Effects". This guy has had this name for 20 years or so, and now, ANOTHER guy, that I happen to know, has registerd HIS business as such. I advised him not to do that, but he didn't listen. I think when the original owner catches on, he will CERTAINLY put a stop to it (which he can), and cause this second guy to have to change EVERYTHING. His name, logo, cards, checking account, advertising, etc.
    Now, I know there are different co.'s with MY name, too, but none around here. Jodi and Matt's, for one. I went into Grainger Supply and registered an account one day, and they brought up abou a dozen "Ground Control's" that have accounts with them throughout the nation. Some were landscapers, some were excavators, and one was a 4 wheel drive supply place, I believe. There were others as well. However, when it comes to TWO in the same town, I'm sorry, that just isn't good. I think I would DEFINITELY look into some action.
     

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