Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Protecting Your Trademark

Keep another company from stealing your pending trademarked name without spending a dime.

This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: I own a New York state trademark, and the U.S. trademark for the same name is pending. Recently, a company started using my exact business name, but in the plural form. I do not have money for legal fees. What should I do?

A: Since you can't afford legal fees, you probably shouldn't threaten the offending party with a lawsuit. But there are things you can do. First, learn all you can about this company. Find out if it has a website. Do some searching online at D&B and at the online versions of business and trade publications and newspapers. You may discover that the company is completely different than your own--and because the law allows noncompeting products and services to use the same name (think Ford Motor Co. and Ford Gum Co.), you actually have no dispute.

Continue reading this article - and everything on Entrepreneur!

Become a member to get unlimited access and support the voices you want to hear more from. Get full access to Entrepreneur for just $5.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks