elementax — 2012-12-09T14:50:21-05:00 — #1
I had a question about my business name in comparison to a few others I found. Basically, my company is a clothing / apparel company and the name I based it around is being used by a some other companies in a similar niche. I was wondering if I could still legally use mine as I am 1) in an entirely different country than the 2-3 others and 2) have a differentiated name. Basically the companies that exist are like XYZ Clothing Co, XYZ Hoops, etc. They are clothing companies themselves but each have different suffixes, etc all while using the same base name. So, if I were to use say XYZ Apparel, would that be a possibility? I searched trademarks, etc and I didn't even find any for the other companies.
felgall — 2012-12-09T16:13:10-05:00 — #2
The simplest way to answer your question would be to apply to register that name in your country. If they accept the registration then you will legally be allowed to use the name. If they reject it then you will need to select something different.
As long as you do not sell the same sort of products to people in the same location as a business already using the same name to sell the same products you will not have any issues - so if you are only selling in your own country then what businesses exist outside your country should not matter.
If you do decide to sell the same products in the same market as an existing business using the same name then they may be able to either prevent your using that name to sell in their market or alternatively may reach some other settlement with you if the products are not completely identical. As an example, Apple in the USA which was formed in the mid 1970s had an issue when they decided to start selling music as Apple in the UK which was formed in the early 1960s already operated in that market - they reached an agreement without it going to court and so no one other than those concerned knows how much Apple USA paid Apple UK.
It might be worth seeking legal advice if you expect to sell in the same market as an existing business with your preferred name as that is the situation where your choice of name would conflict.