Someone Else Using My Name

Business By jillmakescakes Updated 25 Mar 2009 , 5:28pm by j-pal

jillmakescakes Posted 21 Mar 2009 , 9:02pm
post #1 of 12

Ok- so my business name was "official" in Jan 2007 (all paperwork filed with state, etc). When I was checking out CL today, I found a listing with the following link to a picasa photo gallery

http://picasaweb.google.com/MYCOMPANYNAME/WeddingCakes?feat=directlink

Was it wrong of me to send a polite email to ask her to change the name of her photo gallery? I can attach the email if you want to see it ( I think it was polite, but it might not be...)

Any thoughts/help is appreciated. Thanks!

11 replies
MustloveDogs Posted 21 Mar 2009 , 11:42pm
post #2 of 12

I would protect my brand too. Any client could be mistaken that it was you otherwise and that could cause all sorts of problems.
I have had to do this several times.
It's part of being a business owner. thumbs_up.gif

karateka Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 12:33am
post #3 of 12

You really have to protect your name.

My mom owns a dog grooming shop. Unfortunately, a local pet store in the mall that had several locations had the same name. (They changed theirs from something else, so Mom had hers first.)

They did some shady dealings with people over supposedly "AKC" registered puppies, and had people suing them. My mom was named as respondant and had this one woman sending her threatening letters.

She had to call this woman and tell her that she doesn't even sell dogs. Luckily the woman didn't hang up on her, and she was able to get her to direct her fury at the right people. But that's the kind of trouble that can crop up. Good luck to you.

princesscris Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 2:32am
post #4 of 12

There's nothing wrong with asking politely. But remember, people from all over the world post photos on picasaweb - she might have the same company name as you and be fully registered as well, just in a different country. In that case, she'd be perfectly entitled to use the name and is probably not going to change for you. Just a thought.

All the best,
Cris.

karateka Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 2:45am
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by princesscris

There's nothing wrong with asking politely. But remember, people from all over the world post photos on picasaweb - she might have the same company name as you and be fully registered as well, just in a different country. In that case, she'd be perfectly entitled to use the name and is probably not going to change for you. Just a thought.

All the best,
Cris.




Good point.... icon_redface.gif

KookieKris Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 2:51am
post #6 of 12

Not only another country, but possibly another state.
I am fully licensed, so no one in my state can use my name.
My business name is registered only in my state, but there are people in other states with my same name.

Good Luck!

nefgaby Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 3:03am
post #7 of 12

So how does one register a name so no one can use it in ones state or even nationwide?

jillmakescakes Posted 22 Mar 2009 , 1:32pm
post #8 of 12

Thanks for the support! She already emailed back and said that she is trying to change it!

I agree that people in other states or countries can have the same business name, however my business name is based on a nickname of my city (ie BeanTown Cakes for boston, WindyCity Cakes for chicago), so I was pretty sure that, while I'm pretty sure it was accidental, it was definitely local.
Thanks again!

To answer NEFGABY's question, most Secretary of State websites have info on how to register your business name. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you might be able to copyright it on the federal level by checking out the federal copyright office website, but it might be more difficult given that some shops may have already done this with your company name.

nefgaby Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 2:09pm
post #9 of 12

Thanks! And glad to hear this lady is working with you, willing the change the name. icon_smile.gif

j-pal Posted 23 Mar 2009 , 2:27pm
post #10 of 12

It can be really tricky. I went through all the proper procedures for picking out my business name and doing a search to make sure no one else was using it. Then a few years later, I received threatening e-mails from a company in California, saying that the name of my business was their copyrighted "tagline" and that I had to cease and desist. I checked with an attorney and he said that as long as I wasn't carrying on business over state lines, or shipping items out of state that I should be ok, should it come to a lawsuit. I ignored the letter and never heard from them again. Subsequently, I did look into it further, and I was informed that to REALLY make sure that your name is "your name", that you have to have a special search done, and register it on more than just a local level. The problem is that this takes months to do and you could be operating under your business name for several months before you get notified that the name is already registered by someone else! And it doesn't even have to be "exact". If it comes close to another name, they may reject your registration, as well. I'm glad this lady was willing to work with you... some people choose names to purposely divert business from other places to themselves!

jillmakescakes Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 5:13pm
post #11 of 12

SHE DID IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! icon_mad.gificon_mad.gif

Ok, so she sent an email saying she would check with the gallery to see how to change it, sorry for any confusion.

silly me, I thought she actually meant it! I went onto CL today and she posted ANOTHER listing with the same gallery link yesterday!!! icon_confused.gif

I sent her another email, still nice, but a little more forceful.

What are my other options?

Oh, here's the worst part-- the photos in the gallery don't appear to be cakes that this lady has done, she says they are "cakes for inspiration!"

j-pal Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 5:28pm
post #12 of 12

Your only real options are to get an attorney involved. Sometimes, just a letter on an attorney's letterhead is enough to scare them into making a change.... but maybe not. Are you ready for the legal battle? And the cost involved? Good luck!

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