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Someone Has Stolen My Business Name!
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# 1
CityWalk
Old 10-05-2010, 2:37 AM
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Default Someone Has Stolen My Business Name!

So I have just got back from a year out in the USA and found that someone has stolen my Mobile Disco name! I know my website was up for renewal and i hadn't done it. Fair enough.

But they are also trading under the same name as me!!!

What legal rights do I have?
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# 2
jmd4eva
Old 10-05-2010, 8:41 AM
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http://www.nominet.org.uk/disputes/drs/
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# 3
paulwf
Old 10-05-2010, 9:01 AM
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Unless you have a trademark in the region they are operating you can't stop them using your name. Even then it has to be in the same class of business. As you are just a mobile disco you are unlikely to be able to stop them using your name...it happens all the time, you think you have as unique business name then look on the web and find 10 companies already using it across the world.

Nominet only deal with .uk domains which as they are in America I presume they used a .com? ICANN appear to deal with .com http://www.icann.org/en/udrp/

To be honest they don't appear to have done anything wrong as domain names are left to expire all the time, why not use the .co.uk version or rebrand? If you've been away for a year your brand won't be that important anyway.
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# 4
CityWalk
Old 10-05-2010, 5:26 PM
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i'm not bothered about the website that much it was own fault for not renewing before I went to America for a year. .com and .co.uk are both taken.

He is doing EXACTLY the same thing as me. And in the UK. I live in N.I he lives in Scotland but I have had job offers as far away as Holland.

It sucks. I was the first to come up with the name. Back in 2004. And no I didn't trademark it. Never seen the point. Reading into the law at the time where it states even if someone else trademarks the name after you and you have been using it first you have the rights to that name. Or along those lines. Plus I always looked at Trademarks as being for huge company's like Tesco or Coke etc.
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# 5
supermonkey
Old 10-05-2010, 6:13 PM
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Why cant you continue using the name?
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# 6
paulwf
Old 10-05-2010, 8:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityWalk View Post
i'm not bothered about the website that much it was own fault for not renewing before I went to America for a year. .com and .co.uk are both taken.

He is doing EXACTLY the same thing as me. And in the UK. I live in N.I he lives in Scotland but I have had job offers as far away as Holland.

It sucks. I was the first to come up with the name. Back in 2004. And no I didn't trademark it. Never seen the point. Reading into the law at the time where it states even if someone else trademarks the name after you and you have been using it first you have the rights to that name. Or along those lines. Plus I always looked at Trademarks as being for huge company's like Tesco or Coke etc.
Sorry...for some reason I assumed they were in America, I shouldn't post in the morning before coffee

I presume you are self employed, did you set up a dormant limited company to log your business name? It doesn't make much of a difference but stops anyone else setting up a Ltd using your name.

You could take legal advice, but you'll probably be looking at a bill over £1,000. As you haven't got a trademark, I'm presuming no Ltd logged, you let the domain names expire and you haven't been trading for a year I don't think you have the strongest of cases.

That's just a lay opinion though...please take legal advice for a proper opinion. Is your name really worth that sort of cost though?
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# 7
Stephb1986
Old 10-05-2010, 9:23 PM
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We had this last year with a guy who was literally 5 mins drive away from us. We run a ironing service and thats what he was doing too with the exact same name as us therefore some of our customers were going into his shop thinking that it was us.

When we found out that he was using our name we went to his shop whilst he was in he was a german guy who spoke pigeon english we explained to him that we had been trading in this name for the last 7 years. He said he saw our van and thought it was a good name so thought he would use it too.

We asked him to change it due to our customers getting confused. So he shortened the name slightly and carried on a few months later he closed down.

Maybe drop him a line and explain that you have been trading as that name since 2004 and would appreciate if he would change his name.

Good luck

Steph xx
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# 8
hayley11
Old 10-05-2010, 10:51 PM
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I'll admit to not knowing much about the law surrounding this but as you are a mobile disco (not a huge multinational company or franchise etc) you have been out for a year, you have no trademark and no limited company and you and the other company are in different countries, I don't see how you'd have a legal case here.

There are lots of small companies with the same name, if it's not trademarked then surely it's just tough luck?

I'd carry on, get a different domain and just forget the other company.
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# 9
bigcatman
Old 11-05-2010, 7:27 AM
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This is strange as I was going to post something like this on the board.
We are in the same situation with a company over in Bolton.
Nothing to do with a mobile disco name however.
They have registered as a Ltd company this year and are using the same name as one of our t/a names.
We registered this name via a domain name since 2008 and have proof of this.
The domain name has been dormant until this year as a product we where going to import through this company name fell through.
Where do we stand on this?
Can this company legally use our t/a name considering that we had it registered first and they are a LTD company?
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# 10
paulwf
Old 11-05-2010, 8:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcatman View Post
This is strange as I was going to post something like this on the board.
We are in the same situation with a company over in Bolton.
Nothing to do with a mobile disco name however.
They have registered as a Ltd company this year and are using the same name as one of our t/a names.
We registered this name via a domain name since 2008 and have proof of this.
The domain name has been dormant until this year as a product we where going to import through this company name fell through.
Where do we stand on this?
Can this company legally use our t/a name considering that we had it registered first and they are a LTD company?
Domain name registration doesn't count for much when it comes to protecting a business name. A "trading as" name doesn't count for much either as there is no register for these...I can be self employed and set up a dozen t/a names tomorrow for example.

If your t/a name was well known and they were passing themselves off as your company you might have a case. It seems your t/a name was dormant though so it sounds like this isn't the case.

I take it your name wasn't trademarked and you didn't set up a dormant limited company to protect the business name?

This issue is coming up fairly regularly, I must urge anyone with a company name that is important to them to take professional advice...it will cost but it's the only way to protect against these incidents. I know a UK company that is forever having to fight to protect it's name worldwide and even they don't win every case despite having done everything right (trademarks only cover certain classes of use), if you don't cover yourself to start with your chances will be much smaller.
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