What Can I Copyright In A Name?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Tommo, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Tommo

    Tommo
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    Hi all,

    First post here, it seems like a very helpful forum.

    I have a question regarding my business name.

    I have what I believe is a clever idea for a brand and a perfect name that fits this theme. I have found another website selling something different to what I intend to with a different website name to what I intend to use. But at the bottom of the site it says Copyright XXX (my intended company name).

    What exactly has been copyrighted? Are they the only people allowed to use this name? Or would it just be their logo or application to that product that is copyrighted?

    Thank you for your help.

    Tom
     
  2. touqeer

    touqeer
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    In India, you can trademark any of the following and a combination of these things:

    Smell, Sound Mark or a Combination of Colors, Logo, Graphic, Letter, Number, Word, Phrase.
     
  3. Joseph.Shivell

    Joseph.Shivell
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    It appears that someone else has already used the company name that you intended to use. Try searching your intended company name on Google and see who is using it. If it is indeed another company, then you are out of luck. You might consider making a slight change to your intended name, making sure it is different enough so that the two companies will not be confused with one another. You didn't specify where you are from, but you could try searching "copyright law (location)" to find out what the copyright laws are in your country.
     
  4. Business Attorney

    Business Attorney
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    Intellectual property rules differ somewhat around the globe but due to various long-standing treaties, the laws are more similar than different.

    A copyright notice on the website such as "Copyright 2014 XYZ Corporation" just is putting the reader on notice that XYZ Corporation claims a copyright on the content of the website. It has nothing to do with the name of the corporation.

    In fact, a business name cannot be copyrighted. It is too short and lacks the creative element essential to copyright.

    A business name is also not the same as a trademark, although many business names are ALSO trademarks. Think of a trademark as a brand. If the company markets goods or services under its company name, then its name is also its brand and can be a trademark. However, many companies' brands are distinct from their company name. For example, if the company owning Amazon.com was named "Bezos Holdings, Inc." but always sold goods and services under the "Amazon" name and never sold any goods or services under the name "Bezos Holdings, Inc.", then "Bezos Holdings, Inc." is not a trademark and cannot get trademark protection.

    Even if a company has a trademark for one product, the protection of the mark is limited to the goods or services on which it is used by its owner. That is we have "Apple" used by different companies in music (the Beatles' label), travel (Apple Vacations), car rental (Apple Car Rental) as well as computers. In fact, Apple Inc. and Apples Corps (the Beatles), engaged in litigation from 1978 to 2006 over the use of "Apple".

    So the fact that one corporation uses the name you want is just the start of the analysis, not the end.
     
  5. anubhavsharma78

    anubhavsharma78
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    Try to find a way around. Try naming your business with same thing but something little bit different than those copyrighted.
     
  6. francisstevens

    francisstevens
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    I think you are right, I would like to include one more point, according to US trademark law if you are willing to provide the same product and services than strictly you cannot use the same name .You should use a modified or unique name for your business. If you want some idea about then my recommendation will be dépôt de marque . Read it properly and you will get to know what is the appropriate way to select a name for your buisness.
     
    #6 francisstevens, Jan 8, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2016

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