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How-to Name Your Business: Taking Legal Action It’s like a punch in the gut for a business owner when you come across another business that’s been using a trademark similar to your own and potentially trading on your good name. But there are a few simple steps you can take to get the situation sorted out. You should “start by contacting a lawyer and having that lawyer consider writing a cease and desist letter to the infringing company,” suggests Atkins. However, before you do that you’ll want to double and triple check your research to make sure you’re the first user of the mark. If it turns out that you started using the mark second, you’re laying out the red carpet for the company you contacted to turn around and force you to change your name. Even if you do get entangled, the good news is that about two thirds of the time, these disputes can be settled out of court, says Atkins.

Dig Deeper: David Versus Goliath: A Trademark War How-to Name Your Business: Resources Tungsten Branding  is a Brevard, North Carolina-based naming firm. Michael Atkins  is a Seattle-based trademark lawyerEat My Words  is San Francisco-based naming company that offers businesses a simple  quiz to see whether or not their name sucks The Name Inspector  is a blog about company and product names authored by Christopher Johnson, a Seattle-based linguist and verbal branding consultant.

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