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California company sues NBCUniversal for trademark violation

What's in a name? Quite a bit, especially if your company's name has been around for over a decade and you've established a good reputation with your customers. A company's name is very important, but what can you do if another company starts to use your name in a new business opportunity and threatens everything you've worked so hard for? 

A recent trademark and unfair competition lawsuit in California is an example of the legal action your business can take if another company uses your trademark or company name without your permission. Comedy Playground, a company in Los Angeles that trains comics, recently filed a lawsuit against NBCUniversal after they named their new comedy contest NBC Comedy Playground. 

Comedy Playground says it has trained comics for over 10 years, and the NBC contest with their company's name is causing confusion to their consumers and creating "devastating and irreversible" damage to their business, according to the lawsuit. 

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff says that their reputation and company name is being harmed. The lawsuit cites Google web searches for "Comedy Playground" that now show sponsored links, articles and ads about NBC's contest, which is harming their own rankings on Google and their overall business.

The lawsuit was filed for violating state and federal trademark infringement laws and for unfair competition. They are seeking an unspecified amount in damages as well as any profit NBCUniversal has made and for NBCUniversal to stop using Comedy Playground.

Many companies create new products with the same name that has already been trademarked by another company. When this happens, the company with the trademark may see a loss in business as well as have their reputation harmed in some cases. That is why it companies should file a lawsuit to protect their business and to keep their company's name in good standing. 

Source: The Wrap, "NBC's Comedy Playground Slammed With Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition Suit," Jethro Nededog, April 24, 2014

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