First to use a brand name, now others are using it too.

First to use a brand name, now others are using it too.

What should you do if you’ve got an incredible brand name, which nobody else has used before and now suddenly because you’ve been using it, people are popping up all over the place using your brand name. If you’ve got a unique name, the first thing you should be doing is filing a trademark application to check that nobody else has got the same name as you, and then file a trademark application because that’s really the best way to protect yourself. 

The more people who are springing up using the same name as you, the more your rights are diluted. Now, depending on what that name is, you might be able to get it, you might be able to stop these errant people from using it name. Obviously, the more of them, the more difficult it’s gonna be, but also the more costly it’s gonna be, because now you have to engage a lawyer to stop each of these business owners from using this name. Particularly if they’ve used this name for a while, they’re not gonna wanna stop and why would they?

If you had a trademark registration, it’s much easier to get them to stop. You just show them your certificate and you say, “I don’t know if you knew this, but you’re using my name, here’s my trademark certificate.” And most people in that situation would go, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.” And they would just change their name. Which is a very different story from you going to them in writing and saying, “I used that name first and you really shouldn’t copy me.” To which they’re gonna go, “So what? You didn’t protect it.” 

The worst case scenario is somebody else might actually register your name as a trademark, and stop you from using it, you may wonder if they can actually do that and actually, yes, they can. Because they have the trademark certificate and you only have your use, so you’re infringing them because you’re using their trademark on the same goods and services as listed in their trademark certificate. You might be able to get the trademark removed, but the legal fees could be tens of thousands or maybe even a hundred thousand dollars, you would have to go to court to get that trademark removed. So if you have a unique name and people are starting to use it, it’s a really urgent issue, you need to see if you can get that name protected as a trademark. My name is Cathryn Warburton, and I am the Legal Lioness.

Cathryn Warburton About the author

The Legal Lioness. Overcoming severe bullying as a child instilled in her a passion to protect others. As a skilled litigator, she indulges in her dream to push-back against business-bullies who target her clients. She is an international award-winning lawyer and patent attorney and 5-time published author. Cathryn bullet-proofs her client’s businesses and protects them like a mama lioness protecting her cubs. She makes sure that no business is left without access to affordable, easy-to-understand legal information. She does this through her books, proactive legal workshops and 1-2-1 legal services.