As described in Be Creative!, if someone else in your line of business—or future line of business—is using a name, symbol, logo, or other identifier before you, in most cases, they can legally ask you to stop using the name, symbol, logo, or other identifier. Similarly, if someone else in your line of business—or future line of business—is using a name, symbol, logo, or other identifier with which your name, symbol, logo, or other identifier causes a “likelihood of confusion,” they can legally ask you to stop using the name, symbol, logo, or other identifier. Make sure another business isn’t using the same or “confusingly similar” name, symbol, logo, or other identifier as the name you’re considering before you proceed by using the name on a website, social media accounts, business cards, look books, labels, hangtags, etc.
To mitigate risk, do your research. Utilize the resources identified below to perform a search for your desired name. Then, search for combinations, other spellings, or variations of your desired name. Don’t limit yourself only to your line of business.
- Check registered business names via state corporate records.
- Spend time surfing the Web.
- Check the USPTO database (http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4803:imq8k5.1.1).
After you have conducted your own search, consult an attorney. If you think you have found an available name, consult with an attorney for a professional opinion (and hopefully verification). If you think you have found another name or names that could pose an issue, consult with an attorney to discuss your risks moving forward.
Fashion law is an ever emerging area of law that deals with the business problems of the fashion industry. The area of fashion law encompasses a breadth of legal disciplines including intellectual property, business, employment, regulatory, immigration, and zoning. Libby Zinke is an attorney at Lee & Hayes, PLLC. Her practice focuses primarily on intellectual property procurement and enforcement. Lee & Hayes is a full service law firm with nationally recognized corporate, litigation, and intellectual property attorneys who are well versed in addressing legal issues faced by fashion designers.
This blog post is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. By reading this blog post, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the blog author. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.