Another business is using a really similar name and logo to mine. What can I do?

I opened a small fast food restaurant in a busy part of town. It’s a total hit. I just found out another similar restaurant opened nearby, and they’re using a name and logo that sounds and looks a lot like ours. What are my rights here?

Fernando

Fernando

Vancouver, BC

The other business may have infringed on your trademarks. This happens when someone uses a name or logo that’s similar enough to yours that the average consumer might get confused.

Have you registered your trademarks? That’s the best way to prove you’re the owner of a trademark. If you haven’t registered, you may be using the business name from your incorporation, which would also be a good indication you own the trademark. Worst case, if nothing is registered, you could show that you’ve been using your trade name or logo consistently over time to the point that you’ve obtained enough of a reputation.

Next, consider how you want to go about this. Not that you have to give this other business the benefit of the doubt, but is it possible they’ve just made a mistake and will willingly change their name? You could consider meeting with the other business owner to discuss your concerns amicably.

Another option is a strongly worded letter. Let the other business know they’re infringing on your trademarks and give them a deadline to take down their signs and advertising. You might also want to demand some compensation, but how much to ask for is a tricky matter. Consulting a small business lawyer could be helpful here.

Otherwise, you can consider filing a lawsuit. Depending on the size of your claim, it might be through the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Small Claims Court, or Supreme Court.

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in November 2021

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