Legal Advice: is my website service name too similar Legal Advice: is my website service name too similar
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie


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    Default Legal Advice: is my website service name too similar

    Hello, apologies if this is the wrong place for this but i am looking for some legal advice. I have created a limited company and for example, service this company provides is a web hosting platform.

    Firstly my website service name is different to my limited company name, however I plan to stat on the website that abc.co.uk is a service of xyz ltd. So I believe I'm covered on that point.

    I want to call my website domain`abchosting.co.uk`and the web service `abc hosting solutions`, however is there a website service already called `abcwebdesign.co.uk` from a `abc webdesign solutions ltd.` company.

    Is this naming too close too work? will I be breaking any copyright or trademark laws if I call my web service `abcHosting.co.uk`?

    The domain `abchosting.co.uk` is available.

  2. #2

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    Google could very well be your friend here.
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  3. #3

    Contractor Among Contractors


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    You're probably fine.

    Worth having a look at existing trademarks. If for example someone had trademarked "abc" in itself, then you would have an issue (I appreciate "abc" won't be the actual one in your situation). However unless "abc" was actually quite a lot longer/more bespoke, it would be hard to trademark just that in isolation. Also trademarks are typically limited to certain sectors (though this last point may be irrelevant here, as I'd suggest you would be materially in the same sector as this other business).

    My own experience, we trademarked "MVL Online". The intellectual property adviser at the time said they thought there was a good chance we wouldn't get it, on the basis "MVL" was just an acronym for what we do. Ie "Tesco" could be trademarked, but "food shop" couldn't be. However, we did manage to get our business name trademarked. With that, we have sent a handful of snotty letters to competitors who were using our trademarked name on their websites, and they've been obliged to remove it.

    If in your situation the "abc" is some massive, very well known corporation, then it's a bigger risk than if it's a piddly little business...but again, this is largely because then the "abc" bit on its own would likely be protected.

    (caveat - I am not an intellectual property lawyer, just have a small amount of experience)

  4. #4

    My post count is Majestic

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    Unfortunately the key here is how similar the two abc's sound and can there be any confusion. As we don't actually know the name, which is the crux of the argument, it's very difficult to say.

    If I had to give an opinion, the fact that both have a name AND then clarify the service then I think you are OK. There is enough difference in the two to clearly differentiate they are not the same offering.

    You could look in to the other company and see how big they are. If they are a small couple of men set up they probably won't find out and won't have much clout to do anything about it.

    Do some googling and find out how popular their website is as well. If they get tons of traffic you might have a problem. If not, again, the argument you are stealing their traffic or confusing their customers is a bit moot.
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  5. #5

    More fingers than teeth

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    Had some problems like this some years ago when a larger company said our logo was too similar to theirs. They didn't get anywhere, rules are that the companies have to be in similar areas of trade.

    Another problem you may have is that there may be confusion when people Google you.
    bloggoth

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  6. #6

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    FIERCE TANK BATTLE's Avatar
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    Anyone that has ever tried to register a company will realise there are 9 billion companies that sound the same.

    I think as long as you're not using the exact same name, and you're not using a similar name that might cause confusion, because for example you offer the same services, you'll be fine.

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