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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

I want to trademark my business. I noticed that there’s another company that has the same name, but while mine is called XYZ United, their name is XYZ Where. Now, if the apparel company shares the same primary mark, meaning like XYZ or fill in the blank or whatever it is, and it’s followed by what I would describe to be a pretty descriptive trademark like “where,” which typically means clothing, or “united,” which is kind of a throwaway term on some level, the answer is probably there’s a likelihood of confusion, at least in the eyes of the USPTO.

That would mean that if they were registered on the federal level, they’d have exclusive rights to use that name in any derivative trademarks like XYZ Where, for example. Now, they may not actually register a trademark with the federal government, in which case, if the whole rest of the field is clear, you’d be more than welcome to register that trademark. Just know that you can but shouldn’t enforce that trademark against the senior user of the mark in the other state because ultimately, if you try to enforce the trademark, you might be successful, but they’ll come back potentially and cancel your trademark.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at