Someone else using your business name

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lqmustang, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    I was at my local Lesco last week, buying my first round products. After looking up my business name I was asked my address, which I thought odd. I joking asked 'Why? is there another on of me?' To which he replied yes, actually there is. That is not the answer I expected!! He kindly gave me the address and phone number of the 'other' business. I am planning on giving this guy a call to see what's up. I have the legal rights to my business name. I even went on the Ohio business website to double check, and all was ok.

    I'm trying to figure out what to do. Be a nice guy, ask him to change his name, and leave it at that. Or, be a jerk as this guy obviously didn't do his homework before using my name, and demanding some sort of compensation for the use of my name. Guess it all boils down to my mood when I make the call, and his attitude when I talk to him.

    What would you do?
  2. GMP

    GMP LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    is he a legit company?
  3. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    Life's to short, be a nice guy, is his business in lawn care and or landscaping? usually when you go to a new area and you get a business license they check to see if there are others using that name. If he gives you a hard time or who knows maybe he has had his name longer than you, than I would see if there is free legal advice that you can use. Normally only a Registered name like US Lawns that is trade marked you can use legal means, but for just a name maybe not. I used to have a name Pro Cut Lawns and Landscaping in Fl, But up in Ga. I use Premier Services because I also install Office furniture, mobile filing systems etc, so it fits both businesses. Hope this helps.
    Good luck and keep us posted.
  4. awillardandrews

    awillardandrews LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    You probably don't have exclusive rights to the the name. You would have to have the name 'Trade Marked' with the Feds to own it exclusivley. At a State level, there can only be 1 "XYZ Corporation" , But any one can D/B/A as "XYZ", as long as "XYZ" isn't a trade marked name.
  5. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    From my understanding he can use the name, but if he tries to incorporate it will be rejected by the Secretary of State's office. We just incorporated and there were a few Team Green's out there so we used the L&L to get around it, but we are doing business as "Team Green" or "Team Green Landscaping".
  6. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    As far as I can tell he is not legit in the sense that there is no other 'Jason's Lawn Service' registered in Ohio. Not sure about him having a service vendors license at this point. I did some less specific searches and came up empty as well. I really wouldn't mind someone else having the same name, except that by his address he is likely operating in the exact same areas that I am. If he was a few counties over then it would be a non-issue.
  7. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,776

    he can't use the name

    he obviously doesn't have it registered.

    i had this happen to me. i went with the i'm a jerk route.

    i had a lawyer send him a sease and desist(sp) letter

    last i ever heard from him.
  8. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    Don't know about Ohio, but in Missouri you can register a "Fictitious Name" with the Secretary of State. If you have registered your business name under a similar mechanism with the state, you probably have some recourse to keep him from using it. If he isn't in the business though, do you really care?

    If he is, you might want to take steps to resolve it.
  9. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    I'm pretty sure he is conducting business. I stopped in to Lesco for something today and they said he had been in to buy product since I was there last week.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    You'll want to go down to the courthouse and look up registered businesses, they should have a list.
    At least in my case, it's the same list I had to look through to make sure mine had not been registered before.
    As a rule, even a very simple change in spelling is usually legit, so for example if you find:
    Jason's Lawn Services (yours)
    Jasons Lawn Services (his)

    If this is the case then there is probably little you can do, if his name is Jason and he just happens to live in the same county and has properly registered his name, sorry bro but you both have to live with this and know he may be as upset as you are (or not at all, perhaps it amuses him or he feels indifferent, who knows).
    But if there exist no other names besides yours, you may have some legal recourse, thou I wouldn't know what to tell you as far as what this involves. In either case you might want to ask the clerk, but in the first case, if they allowed it...
    Further, if his is an LLC and yours isn't (or vice versa), that simple fact may make it allowable also, but idk...

    Good luck.

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