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Topic: What to do when someone takes your business name?  (Read 2703 times)
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spunkymuffin
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Who says muffins can't be spunky?


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« on: February 10, 2004 09:38:06 AM »

My roommate and I were going to start a business lasty year to sell all the stuff we make.  She came up with the name Avant Cute for us to use.  Now, a whole year came by, and we never did anything, and she never used the name, so now that I've decided to do something by myself, I asked if I could use Avant Cute.  She said yes, and I made tons of business cards, got a Hotmail account, and I was going to buy a domain name tomorrow, when I got paid until I saw the note she left by the computer.  She took one of my test sheets for my business cards and wrote "Although this is cute, I think I'd be more comfortable if you thought of your won name after all."  Which is fine and all, but if that's how she felt, she should have told me in the first place, not after I'd done all this work.  Now I don't know what to do.  I've got to start all over on the business cards, and come up with another name that's just as good.  Not to mention the fact that I feel completely betrayed by someone who's supposed to be my friend.  

Any help?
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melidomi
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2004 09:51:21 AM »

Hmm, how about "cute-ing edge"?
I think you need to have a talk with your friend.  Certainly don't let the resentment fester.  I can think of two solutions off hand:
1) you could offer to let her in on the business whenever she wants to join, with her "ownership" in the business being proportional to her contributions.
2) you can ask her to reimburse you for the cost of the business cards and go with another name.  

Either way I think you should let her know that you don't mind that she doesn't want you to use the name, but you wish she'd said so before you had started.  Since she changed her mind after you had made an investment of time and money (with her permission) it is only fair that she reimburse you.

Try to stay calm when you talk to her about this, it's easy to let hurt feelings take over and then you can end up saying things you regret.
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jennymeg
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2004 10:49:07 AM »

I think you could easily come up with a better name. But you should register it to be on the safe side, with your County. They have (mine does anyway) computers where you can look up your chosen name. If it is not already taken, for nine dollars, the name can be yours! Just fill out a simple dba form and submit it for their files, and I believe that is good for ten years.
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Amanelle
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2004 10:53:03 AM »

Does she know that you've already had business cards made and things like that? You could always try to register the name before she does, but it might cause a huge fight. Talk to her and see if you two can work it out. If nothing else maybe she'll buy the business cards off of you.
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misha
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2004 11:15:31 AM »

First of all, it's not "her" name. She thought of it for your joint business, then she decided not to be involved. You should be able to use the name. But you can take the high road and agree to not use it.

She sounds a bit jealous. It's hard to start a business and she may be resentful you went ahead with it. Seeing your business cards may have made it hit home for her that you 're actually doing this and she's not.

I would agree to drop the name only if she refunded any costs you may have incurred AND agree to not use the name either.  I wouldn't let her into the business at any point, since you went ahead and did all the hard work with actually starting and building it up! Besides, do you really want to be in partnership with someone who acts like this? It will only cause problems down the line.

I think that's a lousy thing to do to a friend, and she must feel the same, seeing that she didn't even have the decency to talk to you face to face and just left you a note.

Personally, I think starting a business with a friend is a big mistake.  I sold some stuff on ebay with a friend and nearly started a business with her, and it was a huge disaster.  But now I am extremely grateful that she showed me what she would be like to work with before we got any further into an actual business.
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papergirl
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2004 11:20:55 AM »

Spunkymuffin -
I am sorry to hear about what happened...  On the bright side, there are other names that are equally good, if not better!  your creativity is the limit.

One thing that came to my mind while reading your post - next time, I 'd suggest getting the domain name or registering your name with your state before you even make your business cards.  It is a big "ouch!" if you find out after the fact that the domain is already taken.....

good luck!
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SublimeStitcher
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2004 09:42:40 AM »

Hi there!

I agree with the last post. I'm going to give you the most 'business-like' advice.

- Get a new, better name, and the domain. Don't tell anyone the name before you get the domain.

- Don't attach the issues of frustration over your friend's wishy-washiness to moving forward with your business. Deal with them separately.

I would tell your friend how you feel about it, but give up the name. Why? Because even if you did go through the debate for keeping it and win, she may always resent it, attach herself to it in some way in the future, and you don't want that. It's not easy, but just give it up and move ahead with something entirely your own. Anything else is energy taken away from moving forward with your business.

Avant Cute is okay, but you can come up with something even better.

Also, this varies legally from state-to-state, but you can attach "TM" to a logo or business name for added security. However, it is illegal to attach a circled "R" (the symbol for a registered trademark) without registration. Just fyi.

Don't let a simple thing like this sidetrack your plans.  Kiss
« Last Edit: February 11, 2004 09:43:41 AM by SublimeStitcher » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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miss_mom
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2004 10:20:27 AM »

I agree with everyone else - talk to her about it, don't talk to her about it - that's your choice. But going forward, do these 2 things first - check to see if the domain name is available, and that it is available with the county/state (depending on where you live). Then, and only then, should you start to work on logos, business cards, letterhead etc.

Good luck, and remember - if this is the worst thing that happens to you while starting up your own business - you won't be doing too bad!!!
 Wink
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"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  - Thomas Edison
WildSnowflake
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2004 08:59:47 AM »

PS avantcute.com is available...
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spunkymuffin
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2004 03:00:30 PM »

I decided to come up with my own name.  A very wise friend told me that this business is going to be something that I will deal with and nurture everyday, and the last thing that I want is to look at the name of my company and think of her and what she's done.  So, I talked to her about it; it turns out that she doesn't want me to use the name because I'm moving out of our apartment early (this girl has lots of other problems besides reversing her decision on things (and as for the moving out early, I'm still going to pay rent here, just not live here)).  When we talked she got uber-defensive, and asked why I would even want a name that someone else had come up with.  While this is a crappy situation, no questions, at least I saw her true colors.

And you guys have no idea how much I appreciate all of the support I've gotten over the past couple of days.  It really means alot to me. Cheesy
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