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Name infringement doesn't have to be identical

Before starting your company, you check the local area for other companies with the same name. You want to stand out after all. There aren't any, so you trademark the name and begin doing business.

That name is now yours, and no one else can use it for their company, especially in a similar space. For instance, maybe your company is called "Elite Electricians." There's nothing to stop someone from opening a competing business, but they can't take that name and confuse potential customers -- or benefit from the positive reputation you have built for yourself.

One thing to keep in mind is that this type of name infringement does not have to be completely identical. You don't just own the rights to Elite Electricians. Someone can't pick something that is so close that people are misled.

For instance, maybe another company opened up with the name "The Elite Electricians" or "Elite Electrician Company." You can absolutely argue that names like this are so close to yours that they cause a problem, and it's fairly clear that someone else is just trying to get business by making it look like they are part of your company -- or closely related.

Most business owners won't want to do this. They also want to stand out, and they don't want to trust their branding and reputation to you, after all. However, if you have been very successful, they may see it as an easy way to get work as soon as they open their doors. If this happens, be sure you know what steps to take.

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