Starting a business is exciting, but also involves worry and the possibility of legal issues. One important matter to consider when starting a new business in Pennsylvania is the name for your company. For one thing, the name must not infringe on that of a pre-existing business. A new company in Indiana found this out the hard way when they were sued by an established Perry County bakery, Specialty Bakers LLC. The 114-year-old Marysville, Pennsylvania company successfully claimed that the startup’s choice of name, Specialty Bakery LLC, represented an effort by the Indiana firm to illegally capitalize on the older company’s long-standing reputation.
Specialty Bakers LLC in Marysville filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against Specialty Bakery LLC of Indianapolis, which had opened its doors in 2014. In the filing made to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the company alleged that the Indianapolis bakery’s name sounded too similar to its own, which has been trademarked since 1953.
The suit alleged that if products from both the Pennsylvania and the Indianapolis bakeries appeared on the same supermarket shelf, customers could realistically be confused about which they were purchasing. After an interstate legal battle, the Indianapolis startup voluntarily decided to change its name and the case was settled.
Many startups don’t have the intent to encroach upon another company’s business, but some copycats may try to capitalize on the success of an existing trend or an already established market. A registered trademark or service mark can be used to distinguish any type of product or service from its competitors. This will protect your business from brand infringements and it could also make a difference in your bottom line.
Feldstein Grinberg Lang & McKee, P.C. can set up the trademark registrations you need and determine whether the name of your new business could result in a potential conflict. Call 412-301-7395 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation and so you can protect your new business venture.