I hate to say it but it would be in your best interest to speak with an attorney regarding your situation. Of course no one wants to hear this; however, obviously you care about your startup, and you want to make sure you don’t have to eventually spend thousands litigating this controversy. Anyways, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will ultimately consider the likelihood that both trademarks will confuse customers about the products or services, or their source. The likelihood of confusion analysis considers these factors:
- Whether the other business is in the same industry. If the two marks identify different products and operate in different industries, consumers are unlikely to be confused. However, if the businesses operate in overlapping markets and have similar names, there are a bunch of factors that will then determine which company has priority.
- Whether the other business is in the same geographical market. Naturally, if your customers are found in different areas, there is less of chance for customer confusion because you don’t share the same customers. If you’re startup is a website then this complicates things.
- Who was using the mark first. If applicable, you may be able to prove that you used the name first and that your business is the one being infringed upon.
- Who registered the mark first. If you started using the name first, but the other business registered it first, then you still have the right to use the name. However, you may only use it in the market you were operating in at the time the other business registered the name.
Hope that provides some insight for you! If you’d like the receive a free, no-obligation price quote for your specific trademark filings and get this work done by vetted on-demand attorneys, feel free to check out. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.