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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    1

    Default Software Name

    Hi,

    I'm in the process of releasing a software I built - a very simple tool, nothing big. It will be released under my LLC.
    My question is about its name: I did a quick Google search and couldn't find any other software named the same. I did a trademark search and found a couple of trademarks though.
    I can't be spending money with trademarks at this point. Will there be problems if I release a software with a name already trademarked?

    Not sure if this is the right forum category to post this question. I apologize if it isn't.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Software Name

    Potentially yes.
    If you select a name for your software that is the same as or sufficiently similar to another registered mark (particularly if the other mark was registered for software) then that could give the other trademark owner a basis to claim damages against you and also a basis to require you to cease using the name you selected.
    A trademark attorney can give you more specific guidance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,029

    Default Re: Software Name

    I can't be spending money with trademarks at this point.
    The $ you spend now will be a fraction of the $$$$$$$$$$ it will cost you later when you get sued for infringement.

    Like the old oil filter commercial.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHug0AIhVoQ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,774

    Default Re: Software Name

    Your other chance is if you are in sufficiently different markets, you can possibly make an agreement with the other business.

    Years ago, we had a software package for medical and defense image processing called Xcaliber. It was against my wishes (when they asked me what name to use I said anything as long as it wasn't X followed by something). It turns out an independent operation had a document imaging system called Excalibur. After a bunch of cease and desist letters lobbed back and forth between the lawyers, we agreed to retain our own marks and further agreed to not go into each other's business areas and that if we received inquiries for the other person's product we'd redirect the inquiries to the other company.

    Of course, later we decided to adopt a generic company name "Sensor Systems." Turns out there are at least two other Sensor Systems around. The only one we hear about is a company out in California that makes GPS antennas. Occasionally we'd get an email or fax for the other company (we're sensor.com, they're sensorantennas.com). I'd forward them along and also inform the inquirer that they reached the wrong company.

    Amusingly, I was at a museum fundraiser years later and ran into a guy whose name badge said he was the Vice President of Sensor Systems. I'm thinking, hey! I'm the VP of Sensor Systems. Turns out he works for the other one. Amusingly, he had never heard of our company (which I guess is a failure of our marketing. I was often introduced as the VP of RemoteView which was our premier product rather than our company name.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2,451

    Default Re: Software Name

    Quote Quoting palms
    View Post
    Will there be problems if I release a software with a name already trademarked?
    Without any more relevant facts than you provided, the only possible intelligent answer is maybe. Please answer the following questions:

    1. In what state do you live/is your LLC registered?
    2. In what states are the other trademark owners resident?
    3. What types of goods/services do the other trademark owners provide?
    4. Is the trademark an ordinary English word or combination thereof, or is it some sort of made-up or unique word or combination of words.
    5. What marketing channels do you and the other trademark owners use?
    6. Are you selling your software to sophisticated business consumers or the general public?
    7. Is there any reasonable likelihood that the other trademark owners would expand into providing software?
    8. What does your software do?
    9. Is the mark, as used by the other owners, something famous (e.g., Apple, Tide, Ford, etc.)?

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