One thing that people often mistakenly believe is that you are never allowed to use the same name as another business. Doing so infringes on that other business owner’s rights by confusing consumers and causing them to make purchases from the wrong company.
This certainly is true in many cases, but not all. In fact, there are some situations in which consumer confusion isn’t created and so owners are allowed to use a relatively similar name. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why this may happen.
Your business is in a very different industry
The first reason is that your business operates in a different industry, and so consumers would not even be considering the two at the same time. There is no chance for confusion because you sell different products or services.
If you own a restaurant that has the same name as a guitar lesson studio, for example, there’s no chance that patrons for either one would get confused and come to the wrong establishment. Therefore, it may not matter if that name is very similar because it is marketed toward an entirely different group of people.
Your business is in a different geographical location
Additionally, businesses that are not close together may be able to operate under the same name. Perhaps there’s a company in a different city that has the same name, or even in a different state. With enough distance, if the company isn’t so big that it has national name recognition, then it’s not a problem.
This can still be an issue for well-known companies, however, which is why you could not name your business something like Apple or Google, even if you’re in a very different geographical location.
It’s important for business owners to know about all their rights and obligations.