copyright infringement

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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copyright infringement

I recently did a search on my Online Boutique business name, Just to see where i
ranked in a google search and found another website stating coming soon using my
registered business name and the Logo even looks the same. Does this fall under
Copyright infringement and should i reach out even the email they have is almost
identical to my company email.

Adela Rivera
Noir Boutique

Asked on May 6, 2017 under Business Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Business names are typically not copyrightable: too short, not original or unique enough to meet copyright criteria. So it is unlikely to be copyright infringement of the name itself.
The logo, is an original graphic design, would be copyright your business, and if they are using it or a similar one obviously derived from it, this would be copyright infringement for the logo.
It MAY be trademark infringement, IF you had trademarked your name and/or (assuming the name or logo met the criteria for trademark: e.g. originality); if you had not trademarked it, it would not be infringement: you have to actively or affirmatively protect trademarks or potential trademarks.
IF the business is in a similar line of business to you and is selling to the same customer pool or market, then even without trademark, this may be "unfair competition" under the Lanham Act: an act to try to confuse customers and potential customers as to where the goods or services come from. But if they do not compete with you in terms of what they provide (e.g. different products, services) or in terms of who they sell to (e.g either they or you have no real  online commerce, so sales are essentially local, and even if they provide similar products or services, they do so in a different geographic area, to different customers), then this is not unfair competition, either.
If there are any violations of copyright, trademark, or unfair competition law, you could sue them to get them to stop and/or first send them a cease and desist letter, then sue if they don't stop doing this. A good idea would be to consult with an intellectual property attorney and let him/her help you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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