Some Consideration Please

Business By MelissaJeane Updated 5 May 2011 , 4:46pm by costumeczar

MelissaJeane Posted 3 May 2011 , 2:38pm
post #1 of 21

I decided to start a small side business which is legal in my state. I contacted the Health Department to schedule a home inspection, I researched and googled myself to exhaustion to find a name that had not been taken and I paid to register the name with my Secretary of State. I purchased the domain for that name.

I'm am looking into liability insurance and have the application for my vendors liscence. I did everything to make sure it was a legal business. Then someone throws up a website with my state registered name a few days ago they didn't even check to see if it was being used first GRRR! They won't respond to my emails and there is no phone number to call. To top it of there website is full of copyrighted charecter cakes (using the company name I registered).

I have not "opened for business" because I 'm still taking care of legalities for my state) So please please check your state and national registries first for a name before you go creating a website or at least google it. I'm so mad I could cry.

20 replies
MelissaJeane Posted 3 May 2011 , 7:04pm
post #2 of 21

I don't know what to do. The website Vista Print only protects nationally registered trade names not State registered ones. I don't want to get in trouble for selling liscensed cakes when its not me. Please help!

jason_kraft Posted 3 May 2011 , 7:31pm
post #3 of 21

If the bakery is not near you, I'm not really sure you have to do anything about it. When copyright owners send out letters for copyright infringement they won't mistake your business for another business in a different location, and if they do it will be easy enough to just point them to the correct business.

MelissaJeane Posted 3 May 2011 , 8:46pm
post #4 of 21

Thank you I'm such a worry wart and the other person won't respond. That had been my first question ... where are you located.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:02pm
post #5 of 21

Is it a free site? Is the site www.whatever bakery/vistaprint.com or something like that? What I would do is check and see if the domain name is still available and if it is... snatch it up quickly.

I did a search in my state for my business name, and there were none. Now there are a few across the country... in NY and PA off the top of my head, but we are so far away that no one would mistake us for the other.

Good luck with your new business!!

icon_biggrin.gif

ccr03 Posted 3 May 2011 , 9:17pm
post #6 of 21

Check out who owns the site on http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp

It will give you the contact info and everything.

Also, depending on your stat, even if you registered your fictious name with your state, it doesn't mean someone else in your state can't use it.

MelissaJeane Posted 3 May 2011 , 11:52pm
post #7 of 21

My State does have rules against two business in the same trade using the same name. I will check that link ccr03 thank you. I already puchased the domain name. If I am not liable for what she is doing because of the business name I guess it shouldnt matter much. I know I'm following the guidelines my state sent me about starting a home based business decorating cakes. It just seemed like I was doing to many cakes as favors for friends and wanted to make sure it wouldn't come back and bite me. Thank you for your help everyone. My fulltime job makes ends meet and thats about it. I can't afford a bunch of fines.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 4 May 2011 , 12:09am
post #8 of 21

You can technically send her a cease and desist order. She's more than likely not registered with the state, and if you had it first... you can make her have to change it.

FromScratchSF Posted 4 May 2011 , 12:36am
post #9 of 21

icon_cry.gifI hate to be the bearer of bad news, but domain names are a totally different animal and are not federally or state regulated. Unless you buy the site name direct from the person that owns the domain registration or you snatch it up as soon as they let the registry expire you are SOL. Sorry. Your best bet is to come up with something else catchy.

Vista Print is only a service that registers the domain for you and sells you a website template. They have no control. http://www.ehow.com/facts_5019539_controls-domain-names.html

For example, up until a few years ago white house.com was a porn site. I'm not kidding. Not a thing in the world the White House could do about it either. The porn company that kept renewing the name eventually went out of business and let the registration expire, and that's the ONLY way the White House was able to snatch it up.

Jen

indydebi Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:06am
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelissaJeane

So please please check your state and national registries first for a name before you go creating a website or at least google it.




Let me say right up front that I am posting this in HUMOR. Those who have seen that "other" thread will get it. They will also understand why I feel the need to post this disclaimer.

With that said ..... icon_rolleyes.gif
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What? You mean you want people to do things the legal way and actually look to see if someone else has legally registered that name? You silly thing! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

MelissaJeane Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:10am
post #11 of 21

I already purchased the domain name its the trade name that I paid the state for that has me irked. I registered my business name with my state and have an identification number for taxes a vendors lisc. and such. The name is mine in my state. I paid for it and submitted the proper paperwork. Its in the state registry with my name listed as the owner. I'm almost positive this othe rperson lives quite close to me and I have let her know the name is a registered trade name she just doesnt seem to care.

jason_kraft Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:13am
post #12 of 21

Do you have any recourse with the Sec of State's office? If you are still worried about it you can call them and they should be able to tell you how to proceed.

FromScratchSF Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:17am
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelissaJeane

I already purchased the domain name its the trade name that I paid the state for that has me irked. I registered my business name with my state and have an identification number for taxes a vendors lisc. and such. The name is mine in my state. I paid for it and submitted the proper paperwork. Its in the state registry with my name listed as the owner. I'm almost positive this othe rperson lives quite close to me and I have let her know the name is a registered trade name she just doesnt seem to care.




AH! I miss-read. Have you gotten a local business license yet? You might have a problem if she did that 1st and has a local business license in that name. Don't know about your state, but my local and state govs don't talk, registration is separate. Really it's local that you probably care about the most at the moment.

Foxicakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 3:43am
post #14 of 21

Who did you purchase the domain name from? Was it GoDaddy or one of the other domain sellers like Google domains, etc ?? You said that you "purchased" it. So, it would be impossible, if you truly owned the web domain for someone other than you to put a site onto that specific URL. You might want to check to make sure that you didn't inadvertently purchase a .biz or .info or .me or .(dot) whatever....because some of the places that sell the web domains make it kind of hard to understand what exactly you have purchased. Just to be clear, if that other person has registered that web domain through one of the domain purchasing sites, SHE owns the name, not you, unfortunately. You may own the "name" in your state, but you don't own it on the web.
I'm sorry that this happened to you. To make sure that this doesn't happen to myself, what I did was purchase the name that I want to use as a .com and then I purchased names that were spelled similarly and that were .biz and .org's etc.... Most domain names are not that expensive and for the 100 or so bucks a year it costs me to keep all of those domains protected by not allowing another person to use the site URL, it's worth it for my own peace of mind.

Foxicakes Posted 4 May 2011 , 4:07am
post #15 of 21

Okay, SF, I guess I misread too. I thought she was upset about losing the web domain name too.
Here is a link to the SBA (small business administration) and they discuss how legal names are actually acquired. They also show the requirements in each state.
http://www.sba.gov/content/register-your-fictitious-or-doing-business-dba-name/

So, for me, in GA, if I am not doing business under my legal name (the name given to me by my parents is my "legal name", even for business), I formed an LLC, so I had to register with the county that I do the majority of my business in. However, even though I registered with the Secretary of State using my Articles of Organization paperwork, they STILL don't "protect" me from having someone else use the same name. Because, some businesses work as sole proprietors or as partnerships, they may choose NOT to incorporate by registering their Articles with the SOS and if they don't incorporate, the gov't doesn't necessarily have their "name" on file to be ABLE to search it's availability. Now, that being said, I do believe that MY name would be protected in my County that I'm registered in... I know, it's all so confusing. That's why most people use an attorney to work this stuff out.

jason_kraft Posted 4 May 2011 , 4:47am
post #16 of 21

It works the same way in CA. The LLC name is protected at the state level, but the business name itself (the d/b/a or "doing business as" name) is protected at the county level.

The d/b/a name of our business is a relatively popular name for a bakery, and there are a few other bakeries in CA with our d/b/a name in different counties. However, our LLC name is unique and distinctive, and I always include both the d/b/a name and the LLC name in our branding. I structured the LLC name to align with our business's core competency and mission, while the d/b/a name is more of a tagline.

The closest business with our d/b/a name is about 30 miles away, but the Bay area is densely populated enough that our markets don't overlap too much geographically. We're contacted by roughly 100 potential customers per month, and we get about 5-6 contacts per year looking for the wrong bakery.

AnnieCahill Posted 5 May 2011 , 10:50am
post #17 of 21

Did you go to the USPTO to get your business name and logo trademarked? If so, then you can legally sue to get the domain name. My mom started a business a while back and ran into lots of problems when coming up with a name. My friend, who is a webmaster, explained that if your name is registered on USPTO (which is expensive and time consuming) then you are legally entitled to the domain name, regardless of how long it's been in use. It's like if Coke didn't have a website yet and you created coke.com. They can legally sue if the name is trademarked.

A lot of people will just put their state abbreviation behind their name. For example, customcakesbyannieva.com.

costumeczar Posted 5 May 2011 , 11:46am
post #18 of 21

So is the problem that the person is using your business name for their web address, or are they using your business name for their business name? I'm not clear on that.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 5 May 2011 , 12:48pm
post #19 of 21

It sounds to me like they are using her biz name for their biz name and have a free site up through Vista Print using the name as well. Since she purchased the domain they wouldn't be able to use the same web address, so it has to be a free site.

MelissaJeane Posted 5 May 2011 , 12:53pm
post #20 of 21

They are using the business name it comes up under her name for the website address because I already own blahblahblah.com and have the trade name registered with the secretary of state.

costumeczar Posted 5 May 2011 , 4:46pm
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelissaJeane

They are using the business name it comes up under her name for the website address because I already own blahblahblah.com and have the trade name registered with the secretary of state.




In that case, send a certified letter from an attorney with a cease and desist. If she's not answering you then she'd better answer a lawyer. If she's not using the website name then you can't report her to anyone online to have her stop using that.

You might also want to go and see if you can buy the variations on your business name like cakes.com, cakes.biz, cakes.net etc. You don't have to use them, but buying them will prevent anyone else from taking them.

I don't know how this works in your state, but you could also just turn her in to the health dept if she's running an illegal business.

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