When it comes to running a business, the name is a vital part of marketing yourself. Your Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is linked with the name of the business. As you would expect, finding out that another business has the same name as yours can potentially be a problem. You are probably wondering what exactly happens if you make this discovery. It is a good idea for business owners to have a good understanding of this situation, regardless of whether it has happened or not. So, can two companies have the same name?
If two businesses with the same name are revealed, what happens next depends on many factors. First of all, there is not a problem if the two businesses are in different geographic locations or industries. The key concept to remember is that the consumer should not be confused. If the two businesses offer two completely different services, there likely will not be a problem. Likewise, if there is the same business name in different countries, they can both share the name. If, however, two businesses have the same name, serve the same geographic demographic, and operate in the same industry, one of the businesses will have to change their name and apply for a new EIN. In this case, it is usually the business which had the name first that gets to keep it.
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As you go into business, you probably have dreams of branding yourself and coming out as a leader. But, problems can arise if you find out that another business has the same name as yours. You might wonder if you have to change your business name and if you need to get a new EIN number. For those asking the question, “Do I need to change the name of my business,” the answer is, “It depends.”
“Do not confuse the consumer” is the guiding principal for trademarks, so if consumers will be confused that the two businesses have the same name, chances are there will be problems for one of those businesses.
If you and the other business serve the same geographical market, there is a good likelihood of confusion because you probably will have the same customers. If you are a local business and the other business with the same name is a shop with locations across the country, there might not be any issues.
Businesses that are in the same industry and serve the same geographic market should not have the same name, therefore the business that used the name first will probably get to keep the trademark. Since trademarks are first come, first serve in nature, you may need to apply for a new EIN if you were not the initial company to use the name.
If you have inadvertently infringed on the trademark of another business, you may need to apply for a new EIN. Should your attorney tell you that you need a new business name and new EIN, you can apply for an EIN online with IRS-EIN. We also make it easy for you to check your EIN online so you can know exactly when your new identification number will be ready for you to use.