Company Name Use Dispute Lawyers
What is a Company Name?
A company name is usually the name by which a company conducts public business under for commercial purposes. It is also called a “trade name” or “trading name”, and may be different from its legally registered name that is used for formal business documents and contracts.
One main reason why a business may have a different company name from its legal name is that its company name simply be easier and more appealing to use for the average public consumer. For example, a pharmaceutical company may be legally registered as “Brooks Chemical Producers, Inc.”. However, they may use the company name “Brooks Medicines and Drugs”, since this is probably going to be more appealing to the public.
Thus, the use of company or trade names is a common practice that can help market a product or service better, and can help deter negative publicity. On the other hand, the use of multiple names can sometimes create legal disputes for the company.
What if I Have a Company Name Dispute?
Disputes over company names can cause legal troubles for a business. One of the main disputes in this regard is confusion as to the actual name of the company. The use of the wrong name in a document or contract can often render the agreement void, and can undo hours of negotiation due to a technicality in the document.
Other company name disputes may involve:
- Copyright and Trademark infringement: Unauthorized use or reproduction of a company name can lead to legal penalties.
- False advertising: Advertising that causes confusion over a company name can cost a company much losses in economic revenue; these may result in a damages award for the non-liable party.
- Defamation: Purposefully casting another business name in an untrue way or illegal manner can result in civil and sometimes criminal consequences. Loss of business reputation can also be a factor in some company name disputes.
- Transfers of ownership: Again, the use of the wrong name in an official document can lead to legal disputes and misunderstandings. An example of this is when the wrong organization is referenced in a transfer or sale of a business
In order to prevent these types of disputes, a business should always make it clear when they are using their legal name and when they are simply using their popular trade name. This is especially important during negotiations and when referring to the company in a contract or document.
Also, trademark and other infringement-type disputes can be avoided by choosing names that aren’t similar to another company’s name, whether it’s their legal name or their company name. While this may make the selection of names more difficult, it will help to avoid costly lawsuits and legal claims in the future.
Should I Contact a Lawyer if I Have Questions About a Company Name Dispute?
Company name disputes can be costly and may also result in legal consequences. In order to avoid potential disputes, you may wish to contact a business lawyer for advice on how to choose a proper business name. Your attorney can research your options according to state and local business laws. Also, an experienced business lawyer can help represent you if you need to file a lawsuit due to a company name dispute.
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Last Modified: 11-20-2012 12:21 PM PST
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