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Can two businesses have the same name?

| Oct 1, 2021 | Business Formation |

You’re looking to start a business. You’ve already come up with the name and done a lot of your branding. Then you find out that there is already a company with that name. 

What you want to know is if you can still use it or not. If you can’t, it would mean starting from scratch. Do things have to be that drastic? 

Is it in the same state? 

The first question to ask is whether or not you’re in the same state. Typically, it’s fine for businesses that are not national in scope to have the same name as a company in another state. This is especially true with smaller businesses, where customers are not going to get the companies confused. You clearly can’t use the name of a major national company, though, like Apple or Microsoft. 

Is it a similar business?

You’re also able to have a business with the same name, in some cases, if it’s not similar to the other company. For instance, if there’s a restaurant with that name and you’re looking to start an auto repair shop with the same one, customers won’t be confused, and the brands won’t overlap. If you’re looking to start another restaurant, then you can’t do so without violating the other owner’s intellectual property rights. 

Avoiding critical mistakes 

As you start your new business, it is absolutely crucial that you know what steps you should take to avoid accidental mistakes that could cause trouble in the future. You need to be aware of your rights and the rights of other owners, and you may need to know what steps to take if a conflict arises.