Help!! another business has my same NAME : Trademark law basics

Some businesses receive threatening letters or emails at some point in which the senders accuse them of trademark infringement. These accusations are often based on the use of similar logos, slogans or names. With the internet and Google, trademark infringement accusations are becoming more common. Whether or not you might have to negotiate with the sender of a cease and desist letter will depend on whether your business and the other one share the same industry, whether the two businesses share a geographical market, which business first used the mark and which business registered the mark first.

What are trademarks?

The marks that a business uses in the course of conducting its business include the business name, logo and slogan. When these marks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, they are called trademarks. Registering a trademark gives a business protection for its use in the U.S. This means that other parties are not allowed to use a business’s trademarks when they are conducting business.

Not all marks are able to be trademarked. Some marks are descriptive in nature and unable to be protected through the trademark process. When there are marks that are protectable and that are being used by two different businesses, however, the question will come down to which business’s use of the mark will prevail.

It is still possible for two different businesses to have similar names are marks. For example, Delta Faucets and Delta Airlines have obviously similar names. However, the question is determined by the potential for the confusion of consumers. If two similar marks are used in different industries that are located in different markets, confusion is unlikely. On the other hand, if two businesses that are using similar marks are operating in markets that overlap, priority will be an issue.

Does the other business share the same industry as yours?

The guiding principle of trademarks is to avoid consumer confusion. If there is little likelihood that the customers of the accusing business will be confused by your use of a similar mark, there is very little chance that there will be a trademark issue. Courts look at several factors, including whether or not consumers are likely to be confused by two businesses that operate in the same industry.

If you are using a business name that is the same as another company in your industry, caution is warranted. If you are instead using a name that is the same as another company’s name that offers completely different services or products, there is probably not a trademark issue.

Does the accusing business operate in your geographical market?

Consumers are less likely to be confused if your business and the one that is claiming that you infringed its trademark are operating in different geographical markets. For instance, traditional businesses that were located in different states that shared the same names in the past could continue to operate because they weren’t competing for the same consumers. However, the internet has complicated the analysis. If your business and the other business are both online, you may have overlapping markets. In that case, you will need to carefully analyze the other applicable factors.

If the other business is a traditional company that is based in another state and that doesn’t do very much business on the internet, you might be okay. However, you may be unable to perform similar services in the other business’s state.

Which of the two businesses used the mark first?

If your business shares the same market as the other business, you will then need to figure out whether your business or the one that is claiming trademark infringement used your business name first. If you can show that your business used the name first, you will hold senior rights to it.

Which business registered the mark first?

Which business registered the mark first

Before applying to register a mark, a business should ideally conduct a thorough search of its market to make certain that another business hasn’t already been using it. However, people sometimes do register marks that were already in use by other businesses. If you began using the name before the other company registered it, you will be able to continue using it. However, you will only be able to use it in the market in which you were using the mark when the other company registered the name. The other company that has registered the trademark will have priority for its use in all other markets and can stop you from using it in new locations. This means that you should register your trademarks regardless of how long you have been using them.

If the other business registered the mark prior to your first use of it, there is an issue. When a company registers a mark, other businesses are considered to have constructive notice that the mark cannot be used. If you find out that this is true, you should settle the infringement claim.


1. Neither business using the same name has a federally registered trademark.

Imagine that two businesses that operate online both launched their websites in the same month and year and are using the same or a similar name. If both of these companies offer the same types of services in the same markets, there is clear potential for customers to be confused. When neither business is able to prove that it has senior rights, the courts will modify one of the marks to minimize the confusion.

If one business is able to prove that it used the name first, there would be a clear priority for that business. it would be able to continue to use the name in its market.

2. The other business registered the mark first, but your business was the first to use it.

If you began using your business name in commerce before the other company began and registered it, you will likely be able to continue to use it in the market in which you were using it when the other company registered it. However, you will not be able to expand into new markets.

If you are able to prove that the other business knew that your company was using its name, you may be able to prove that its infringement was willful. When willful infringement is proved, the other company may have its trademark registration canceled.

3. The other company was the first to use the mark and to obtain a registered trademark for it.

If the other company began using the mark and also registered it before you company began using it, it can force you to stop using your business’s name. It might also be able to recover damages. If this is your situation, you need to get out of it as quickly as possible.

4. Both companies operate in markets that overlap and registered the name.

In rare cases, two different businesses that operate in markets that overlap will obtain a federal registration for the same or a similar mark. In order to resolve this type of situation, it will likely require either a lawsuit or an administrative proceeding with the USPTO. Because the costs of litigation can be high, it might be wiser for you to try to negotiate a settlement.

5. Before you used your mark, the other company filed an intent to use application with the USPTO.

It is a smart idea to file an intent to use application with the USPTO when you identify a name for your business that you would like to use. If you file this application and someone else begins using a similar name before your business launch, your rights will be protected.

Registering your marks is an important part of your business plan. If you fail to register a mark and later receive a cease and desist letter, you may need to get help from an experienced intellectual property attorney. A lawyer may analyze the different factors that courts consider in order to determine whether a valid issue exists. If there appears to be a problem, your lawyer may negotiate with the other business in an effort to reach a settlement. To schedule an appointment, contact us today by telephone, or fill out our contact form.


7 Actionable Tips To Get More Traffic To Your WordPress Blog

There are currently over 440 million blogs online. It sounds like an unbelievable number and if you’re starting your own blog, it means competition is a real thing. How do you set your blog apart from others? How do you get regular traffic and – more importantly – some kind of return on the time you put into building it?

There are various plans of attack that you can consider to increase your blogs visibility. A combination of all of these strategies and perseverance can help make your blog stand out from the pack. We’ll look at some of the great things you can do today to get your company’s blog in front of the right audience.

Fast Loading Times

Fast Loading Times

If a blog doesn’t load quickly, its not going to retain visitors. If you’ve ever visited a site that took more than three seconds to load, you may find that you’re already losing interest. And even if you have the most patient user base ever, most web crawlers time out in less than three seconds and unreliable speeds lead to lower rankings in search engine result pages.

It may be as simple as a call to your site hosting service in order to get more processing power allocated to your blog. Much like having a luxury automobile would be pointless if he can’t actually drive over 20mph, having an amazing blog with a slow server defeats the purpose.

Keep It Regular

Keep It Regular

Regular content delivery is key to successful blogging. We can’t imagine watching a serial TV show that may or may not air each week, and most users won’t bother returning to a randomly updated blog. A big part of that 440 million blogs are basically randomly updates, sometimes with years of space in between; this pattern does not retain viewers.

However, its not always easy to make time to manually release an article each week or month. Instead, tools exist to allow you to schedule your blogs posts to automatically post. This way you can prep months at a time and then leave the blog on auto-pilot to post the new items as needed.


Find keywords

When starting a blog, you should have a clear idea of what the keywords you focus on will be. Think about what someone might type into Google relating to your company. Now think about what you phrases you’d like your site to appear in response to a Google query. Try to use these phrases naturally in your article. Don’t think that more is better. Stuffing the keywords into every sentence does not work. Google can detect unnatural badly formatted text. You’re best off just writing naturally and making a point to use the keywords when they appear naturally in context.

Below are a few popular tools for keyword research:

Incorporate internal linking

The sidebar of your blog and links to related blog posts on your blog are excellent ways of increasing traffic. If you wrote a past article on your site that relates to the current post, link up some keywords to it. This can help people to delve deeper into your blogs content and grow to appreciate all the effort that went into it.

Feature posts are also a great way to route traffics from any of your posts to one of particular interest or value. Many WordPress themes have a side panel with featured posts or recommended posts along the bottom. You can use these to drive traffic to specific topics that relate to your niche or help convery visitors into customers.

Responsive Design

Responsive Design

Nothing drives mobile users away like a clunky, slow desktop site that pretends the smartphone doesn’t exist. Your site should look great on a tiny iPhone screen, an Android tablet and an HD 1080p desktop computer monitor. Many plugins exist to convert existing themes to responsive themes. A responsive theme basically grows or shrinks to fit the available space and thus looks great no matter what kind of device is browsing your site.

Interact With Your Audience

The comment section on your blog is not just there for people to give you blind praise on a great article. End articles with a question that invites personal opinion. You may find that you have some great discussions in the comments sections of your blog. Even questions that may cause a bit of debate or in-depth explanation of a point of view can help draw traffic to your site.

Replying to comments on your blog should be part of your regular routine. It will make potential customers feel more loyal to your brand when they see that you actually took the time to respond to their query.

Search Engine Optimization

One of the most difficult aspects of making your blog more popular is search engine optimization. This is not something that can be done quickly with a few clicks. Using natural keyword placement can help but other things such as backlinking, long tail search keywords and low competition keywords for niche items can also help.

Bringing It All Together

Feeling a bit overwhelemed? Don’t be. The hard part of blogging is having good content. If you have that, we can help you with all the rest of the details. Fill out our contact form today and put our team of experts to work for your company.


How Long Should A Blog Post Be?

Its no secret that having quality content is more important than ever. Google search results drive traffic and traffic converts into revenue. For this reason, many businesses have create ambitious posting schedules in an attempt to draw people to their site.

However, these plans don’t always work out to the company’s benefit. We look at how the length and style of a post can help your site to be well positioned in Google and also to establish your company as an industry leader with valuable content.

How Long Should a Post Be?

Posts online are usually considered to be either long form (or long content) – consisting of more than 500 words – or short content – being less than 500 words. There are pros and cons to both. Deciding on the length often depends on the point of the article. We’ll talk about both and when to elect either a short or long blog post.

How Long Should A Blog Post Be

Long Form Posts

In the past, long form posts were not seen as a valuable SEO marketing tool. As casual browsers might want to read a quick article, the feeling was that writing anything longer wouldn’t really be consumed. Additionally, search engines have specific algorithms for determining the “quality” of a page, and longer isn’t necessarily better.

The value of long form posts comes from the fact that you can deliver valuable content to your users. Long posts let you go deep into technical issues, tell an engaging story or present an interesting interview. Some companies have even found success with “gated long posts”, where a user must sign up to a mailing list in order to access the entire post. Long form posts can go a long way to establishing you as an industry expert.

Short Form Posts

Shorter posts – those of under 500 words – are great for quick and interesting reads, sharing news about an event or announcing a new product or release. Since they take less time to produce, you can produce more, which helps you possibly strike gold on some unexpected interest of your readers and also help establish a better search engine ranking.

The Role of Quality

The Role of Quality

You probably remember a time in the early 2000’s when ever site had a sidebar filled with randomly sized words. There was a time when things like keyword stuffing, content scraping and other poor substitutes for content could actually help a page to rank better. Things have changed since then, and none of these strategies are going to help your page be considered “high quality” by Google or any other analytics bots that check out your page. Duplicate content is also bad.

If your page is a cut and paste collage of other articles, these systems are able to pick that up. Even worse, if your competitors or clients notice you are doing things like this, your reputation will be damage irrevocably.

Don’t forget, your Google ranking means nothing if your human readers don’t see you as a source of reliable and valuable information. There are no shortcuts in producing quality content.

Posting Schedules

Scheduled automated posting systems are popular and they can make maintaining a website easier. Content can be quickly developed at one point in time and then automatically released slowly over time. These systems can be great but they also present a trap. In a rush to fill a posting schedule, some companies put out filler posts. Others sit on exciting news just because it didn’t come in on time for their posting schedule.

These decisions can also impact the length of the posts. It’s great to maintain a schedule, but also important to leave time for creativity and unexpected news.

Posting Schedules

Developing Quality Posts

A great practice for both long or short form posts is to start by writing a basic outline. Start with sub headings and main talking points. Each post should be easily explained in 1-2 sentences. If explaining it becomes more complex than that, it might be a better idea to divide the ideas up into several posts.

Always try to imagine what your potential clients will take away from this post. Does it really have something to say that hasn’t already been said? Does it answer a question people often Google related to your industry?

These are the posts that work on both levels; valuable to human readers and well ranked by search engines. No one likes to open a post that poses a question, and then – ten “filler paragraphs” later – basically tells them, “Do research to find the right answer for you!”

Article Length Recommendations

  • Buffer: recommends the ideal blog post length should be 1,600 words.
  • CoSchedule: recommends the ideal blog post length should be 2,500 words.
  • Hubspot: recommends the ideal blog post length should be 2,250 to 2,500 words.
  • Moz: recommends the ideal blog post length should be 1,125 words.
  • ClickSeed: recommends the ideal blog post length should be 1,000 words.
  • Yoast: recommends the minimum word count is 300 in order to rank, but ideal blog post length should be 1,000 words.

Recommended Article Length By Industry

  • Financial technology – 2,000 – 2,150 words
  • Finance – 2,100 – 2,500 words
  • Manufacturing – 1,700 – 1,900 words
  • Sales – 2,500 – 2,700 words
  • Retail – 1,500 – 1,700 words
  • Real estate – 1,800 – 1,900 words
  • Home and garden – 1,100 – 1,200 words
  • Tech – 800 – 1,000 words
  • Gadgets – 300 – 500 words
  • Marketing/advertising – 2,500 – 3,000 words
  • Healthcare – 2,000 – 2,150 words
  • Fashion – 800 – 950 words
  • Recruiting – 900 – 1,000 words
  • Food – 1,400 – 1,900 words
  • Travel – 1,500 – 1,850 words
  • Film – 1,500 – 1,700 words

Brining It All Together

As you can see, developing quality content is not as easy as it sounds. It could be that you’re an industry expert with lots of knowledge to share, but you don’t know where to start. If that’s your situation, fill out our contact form now. Put all that knowledge to work today, driving people to your company online all around the world.


5 Reasons Content Marketing Is Vital For Your Business Strategy

Content marketing is a way of publishing digital content to attract customers who are searching for the products and services they provide. It can help to establish a company as an expert in a field, generate interest and awareness and help gain new customers as well as repeat businesses.

Here are five reasons you should be doing content marketing right away.

Content Drives Decisions

Clients no longer expect sales reps to make purchasing decisions for them. Instead, they look online and get feedback from others who’ve made similar purchases. This self-sufficiency makes a lot of “traditional” sales practices obsolete. Therefore, the online presence of your company is now more important than ever. The content they find under your company’s name will influence their opinion of your competence and professional abilities.

  • 95% of B2B buyers are willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy.
  • 51% more B2B buyers rely on content to make purchasing decisions than they did last year.
  • 47% of B2B buyers consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales person.

Content Lets You Control the Conversation

Content Lets You Control the Conversation

If someone Googles the name of your business, what do they find?

If you never publish any solid, informational content, they won’t see anything but customer reviews. And as we all know, many people like to use the Internet as a platform to complain. Far more people take the time to write a negative review – venting, as it were – than to come online to share a positive experience.

If you regularly publish content that fits your brand – be it professional, funny, youthful or whatever fits your brand – your online presence will be strong and positive, not just a random review or map location.

Present Your Company As the Solution

People go online looking for answers. When a business helps them find those answers, they automatically feel a sense of loyalty. Answering common questions establishes you as an expert in the field who understands what they’re going through. Even though it might feel like giving something away for free, it can create a level of trust and confidence in your business that no sales man could ever instill.

Content Marketing Works Better Than Traditional Marketing

Sure, buying advertising works for some businesses. But content marketing is both more affordable and more effective. Content shows who you are and what your place in the industry is. Ads just show that you could afford to buy advertising space. Many companies have found that their Internet presence is what directs most clients to their business, more so than online advertising or other traditional media advertising.

Your Competitors Are Already Doing Content Marketing

Regardless of the industry, a strong Internet presence is what sets the innovators apart from the stagnating companies. This year more than 75% of marketers increased their investments in content marketing. Basically, the better content you publish, the more customers and revenue you will generate. It’s that simple. Start today.

Creativity Marketing Social Media

8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Instagram Feed

Reformat your pictures

You may not know this, but you are now able to select how your photos display on your pages. In the beginning, you could only arrange them in portrait format. Now, you are able to select the orientation of each picture between portrait and landscape. This will give you more control over how all your photos look on each page.

Turn on notifications of the people you follow

Don’t forget to turn on the notifications for the people you follow on Instagram. If you want to know immediately when they post on their Instagram, it is really simple to do. Just pick one of the photos they have posted and click on the icon that looks like three dots. This will give you the option to turn on notifications of when they post their photos.

Center the text in your bio for more visibility

This tip might make you groan a little, but it does work! Your bio not only tells people all of the things that you want people to know, but the way it looks sometimes gives some hints about who you are. To ensure that your bio looks great and centered, you will need to use spaces between the text. This is because the coding on the page does not accept normal HTML coding tricks. Instead, you have to use the “old-fashioned” way of spacing, simply adding extra spaces in the text.

Use the “Liked” feature to your advantage

Another helpful tool in Instagram is using the “liked” history option to find your favorite photos. If you are like many Instagram user you mark many photos with the like button as you see them. By clicking the like button that photo is tagged and you can use the Post You Liked filter option. This checks your history and checks for all photos you liked and you can go back a view them. This option can be found in the menu bar of the Instagram page.

Use a blog to promote your Instagram

If you have a blog, you can easily post yours or a favorite feed of someone else’s and post them on your blog. You can use a number of 3rd-party plugins for blogs using the WordPress platform. The plugins are really easy to use and many of them are completely free.

Real time tracking of hashtags

There are a number of different 3-party apps that you can download and used to help you get the most out of your social media sites. One of those apps is called keyhole and it allows you to track hashtags, which has been become one of the most important parts of social media. This app allows you to track several different sites at the same time.

Keep search history clean

Deleting old and maybe embarrassing Instagram searches is really easy to do, but most people don’t even think about using the feature. It is much easier than you think and it only takes a few clicks and then the searches are completely gone for ever. Just go to your profile and click the menu and find options. Click on the Clear Search History and click to confirm and you are done.

Remove tags from pictures

Sometimes we all do things that we are not actually proud of and even worse there quite possibly could be some pictures of it and they ended up someone’s Instagram feed and you were tagged. The good is there is a way that you can protect yourself from those people important to you that know your Instagram name. You can click on the offending photo and click on options and choose Hide From My Profile. Then you also want to select Remove Me From Photo, by doing both of these will block the people on your feed from seeing it.

We hope that one or more of these tips will help you get the most out of your Instagram experience.


What is an Effective SEO Strategy For 2017

[vc_row type=”vc_default”][vc_column][vc_column_text]It amazes me how often I hear many Digital Marketers saying “SEO is Dead”. Sure Google may have updated its algorithm, but they didn’t do it to make my job harder, its done to improve user experience to give you the results you want on your first search. [dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”h5″ animation=”none” size=”2″]The reason so many think SEO is dead is because they don’t have their main focus on the basics[/dt_quote]The reason so many think SEO is dead is because they don’t have their main focus on the basics of SEO so they can’t evolve with the times or the latest technologies. (Without having to start over)

If those naysayers were to follow the SEO optimization fundamentals clearly defined in the Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, they would still be in line to implement the following SEO Strategies for 2017:

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Optimize Website For Mobile

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In January of 2014 the amount of internet traffic from mobile devices and tablets exceeded the desktop. Consumers are using their mobile devices more and more to:

  • Access the internet
  • Check email
  • Access personal information
  • Download and use apps
  • Shop online

If have not done so by this point, the time has come to seriously consider upgrading your website to a mobile friendly version. Not just because Google favors mobile-friendly websites, but also because that’s how your potential customers will be looking for you! How do you know if your site is mobile friendly? Simply take the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. If for some reason your site is not mobile friendly, Google will offer suggestions on what you need to improve.

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Optimize For Voice Search

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[dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”h5″ animation=”none” size=”2″]55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day.[/dt_quote]The way we search has evolved in recent years. According to Google, 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day. Beyond a doubt optimizing for voice search will be a critical strategy for your SEO success for 2017 and beyond. The 4 major Digital Assistants in voice search you’ll need to optimize for are:

Why is this important? The way we search by voice is entirely different than the way we type. Your website should be setup to answer questions rather than focusing on specific keywords. Your content needs to be more in-depth and comprehensive in order to clearly answer the questions your potential customers may have.

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Optimize For Rich Answers

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Rich Answers are displayed for nearly 20% of all internet searches. What are “rich answers”? Rich answers are a way search engines provide direct information to the user for all types of commonly asked questions. Here are a few examples of Rich Answers:

  • Rich Snippets (sometimes called featured snippets)
  • Answers provided by Search Engines
  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Sliders or Carousels
  • Maps
  • Forms

Optimizing for rich answers is important because you have the opportunity to be in the most visible spot in the search engine results even without having a #1 page ranking, your organic traffic will increase and you’ll have higher engagement from those who click through to your site.

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Local Optimization

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With the growth of mobile searches, Local SEO has become one of the most effective strategies for businesses to gain an edge over their local competitors. To begin with, you’ll need to make sure your NAP (Name Address Phone Number) are listed accurately throughout the web. Claim your business profile on relevant local directories and review sites.

Local Optimization Checklist:

  • Get listed in Local Directories (Name Address Phone)
  • Claim Business Profile on Google and Bing
  • Make sure there is content on your site that includes the name of your city or region.
  • Get Online Reviews
  • Use local structured data markup
  • Website URL should be listed as your homepage

Local search accounts for 50% of search queries on mobile phones and tablets so a local SEO strategy is crucial to your success.

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Improve User Experience

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You have about 8 seconds to answer 3 questions when a potential customer lands on your website to convince them to stay. Those 3 questions are:

  • Who are you and what do you do?
  • Why should I be interested in you over your competitors?
  • What do you want me to do next?

Can your website answer those 3 questions in 8 seconds or less? Here are just a few tips to improve your user experience.

  • Your Phone Number Should Be Displayed Prominently on the website.
  • Your website needs to be responsive and mobile friendly
  • Use simple contact forms – ease of use
  • Include a strong call to action

A strong focus on user experience is key for gaining customer loyalty and improving business performance.

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Use LSI Keywords In Your Content

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What are LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing)? These are keywords related to your main keyword. LSI keywords help search engines understand the meaning of the content to return better results in search. Gone are the days that you needed to focus on a single keyword. In today’s digital world you need to focus on the topic you want to rank for and thoroughly explain the topic.

[dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”h5″ animation=”none” size=”2″]In today’s information world, you may need closer to 1500 or more words on a page.[/dt_quote]Success with the use of LSI Keywords is going to take more than the 200-300 word per page standard of years past. In today’s information world, you may need closer to 1500 or more words on a page.

In conclusion, if you stick to the basics of SEO and keep these 6 tips in mind as you move forward you should see an increase in not only traffic, but more importantly an increase in form fill outs and phone calls. If you have any questions about any of these ideas or would like to implement them in your marketing plan feel free to give us a call or simply fill out our contact form.