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Thread started 21 Jan 2012 (Saturday) 19:50
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Can businesses w/same name exist in separate states?

 
esphoto
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Jan 21, 2012 19:50 |  #1

TIA for those who can contribute helpful input on this matter. Currently I am in school for photography (my last class this spring) and over a year ago I purchased a domain name, which is basically my last name + Photography. Before I purchased, I google searched the name and I didn't get conflicting results. I've been watermarking photos as this since I feel like using my first + last name + Photography as a future business name feels just a little too long winded and a little more amateur sounding. In the past month I have felt that it is time to start developing a web presence and portfolio to get my name out there. I went to research online again for the heck of it, and now apparently a business with the same name (but different state) shows up and they've had an ongoing web presence and business. The only time they use the full business name that matches mine is on their contact page, which is why I suspect when I had went to register my domain way back when I wasn't coming up with any solid search results.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is, is it still acceptable to keep with my original plan of my last name + Photography, being that we are in separate states and will not have competing clients, or is this illegal in any way? As of right now I intend to be a sole proprietor when I begin my business. I appreciate any input on the matter.




  
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Eric
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Jan 21, 2012 21:57 |  #2

I know there are multiple business all over the place that have the same name. If they have registered their business name with the US copyright office they may have a case against you. Although there may be some loophole if its your own name...

Worth looking into. If you have the domain name your one step ahead of the game. I know I wanted to use my middle name + photography for my studio name, but that was already taken so I just went with first and last. Oh well...


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Jan 22, 2012 09:12 |  #3

Since they beat you to the marketplace you might want to change your business name. It might not create confusion in the marketplace since they are in a different state but I like that you are thinking big with your future plans.


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Curtis ­ N
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Jan 22, 2012 10:28 |  #4

Ever been to Sam's Pizza?
There's gotta be one in every town.

In order to get a checking account in my business name, I had to go through a registration process at the County Clerk's Office. The laws and procedures in your location are probably different.

You should retain the services of a local accountant to help you with tax issues. He/she can probably help with this question too.


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Jan 22, 2012 17:53 as a reply to  @ Curtis N's post |  #5

As a sole proprietorship, and registering at the county clerks office in your county, a business could actually have the same name in the next county. Someone copied one of my other business names just 3 hours from me.

When deciding on a name, I usually research .com domain names first as .com is the most recognized for internet addresses.




  
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Jan 22, 2012 18:15 as a reply to  @ TroyRaymond's post |  #6

Do whatever you want and let them come to you if it is an issue.

Or, go full bore and open a business.

To start your business, try legalzoom.com. If you have no partners and will not raise investment money, be an LLC. They will take care of your state name filing.

If you want to protect your name, then have a logo created and then register your name with that logo.

Get a business phone line, with FAX. Try phone.com for that.

After you have the logo done, get letterhead printed using it. Show your address and phone numbers.

If you do not want to use your home address, visit your local UPS store and get a box.

To get a logo, try 99designs.com.

To get a registered copyright, try legalzoom.com. Do that only after you have your logo done, your site up, and stationary because you will have to demonstrate that you are operating.

You may skip the registration of your name and logo. But the other things, do them to have an operating business entity.

Use quickbooks or another accounting software.

Only visit the accountant to first understand your obligations to remit quarterly taxes, and to file your annual business and personal returns.

If you are going to have a partner, visit an attorney before you do anything else.

Good luck.


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johendley
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Jan 22, 2012 18:21 |  #7

Curtis N wrote in post #13747803 (external link)
Ever been to Sam's Pizza?
There's gotta be one in every town.

.


Never heard of Sam's pizza


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Jan 22, 2012 22:31 |  #8

A. A business name cannot be copyrighted. A business logo might be copyrighted, but the not the business name.

B. Yes, multiple businesses can have the same name. There may be hundreds of "AAA Plumbing" companies across the company...companies sought "SEO" even in the Yellow Pages.

C. You might be worried about a business name being trademarked, but a personal name is normally too generic to be trademarked. Even a company does try to trademark a generic name, it might be worthwhile to ignore it as long as the two companies are in significantly disparate areas of commerce. For instance, Disney has actually trademarked "Braves" and "Seal Team 6," as well as practically every other title they might want to use in a movie someday. But if I were writing a book about the Atlanta Braves or the real SEAL Team 6, I would not let that bother me.




  
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FlyingPhotog
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Jan 23, 2012 12:06 |  #9

Unfortunately, here in AZ, even registering a company name with the state does not guarantee exclusivity...


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RDKirk
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Jan 23, 2012 12:52 |  #10

FlyingPhotog wrote in post #13753709 (external link)
Unfortunately, here in AZ, even registering a company name with the state does not guarantee exclusivity...

They usually get somewhat tighter with incorporated entities, but not with ordinary DBAs.




  
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j-dogg
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Jan 23, 2012 13:04 |  #11

S.Horton wrote in post #13749937 (external link)
Do whatever you want and let them come to you if it is an issue.

Or, go full bore and open a business.

To start your business, try legalzoom.com. If you have no partners and will not raise investment money, be an LLC. They will take care of your state name filing.

If you want to protect your name, then have a logo created and then register your name with that logo.

Get a business phone line, with FAX. Try phone.com for that.

After you have the logo done, get letterhead printed using it. Show your address and phone numbers.

If you do not want to use your home address, visit your local UPS store and get a box.

To get a logo, try 99designs.com.

To get a registered copyright, try legalzoom.com. Do that only after you have your logo done, your site up, and stationary because you will have to demonstrate that you are operating.

You may skip the registration of your name and logo. But the other things, do them to have an operating business entity.

Use quickbooks or another accounting software.

Only visit the accountant to first understand your obligations to remit quarterly taxes, and to file your annual business and personal returns.

If you are going to have a partner, visit an attorney before you do anything else.

Good luck.

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esphoto
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Jan 23, 2012 16:16 |  #12

Thanks so much for the replies so far, it has been insightful and a relief to hear from other professionals that it wouldn't necessarily be a wrong-doing to have same business names. While sleeping on it, I'm still on the fence on the route I should go. One part of me wants to keep it the way I've had it, but another part of me wants to avoid any potential complication regarding potential clients being misdirected if they were just simply searching by name. I also figure that my last name is common enough that even if I'm the second out there at this point, there will be bound to be additional photographers to do the same after me down the road (heck, there's someone with the same last name as me in the school program I'm in now).
Going to see what I can come up with logos now involving my full name and see how I feel about it/sleep on it some more - but in the meantime if anyone else has anything else to contribute I'd love to hear it. Thanks again




  
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Jan 24, 2012 01:35 |  #13

Yup... it's fine. I use my name for my business. In the SAME COUNTY that I lived in there was a photographer who had the exact same name as I, except he spelled his first name wrong. Otherwise, it was the same. No one ever mistook me for him and I doubt anyone thought he was me. Was co-existed just fine. In fact, I gather he never even knew I existed (he's been in business for YEARS and is pretty well known). I've since moved away but I'm still in the same state. And still, no issue.


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Can businesses w/same name exist in separate states?
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