Is it legal to use a name for a company that uses part, or all, of another trademarked name in it?

For example, if I was creating a company that uses Google's software, could I name my company Googley Eyes, LLC? Does the answer depend on whether the name is "Googley" vs "Googly"?

I found this question and the answer says

Since "orbitz" is a coined term its protection is stronger, there is no natural object or concept this can refer to. "AppleMoving" is less likely to be confused with "Apple Computers" because apples are real things and need not refer to computers.

Does that mean that since googly eyes are a real thing it's more likely to be ok? The key difference from the linked question being that the company would be in the same industry of computer software, as opposed to a totally different industry (computers vs. moving).

2 Answers 2


You can’t just say “legal” or “illegal”. What matters is whether the name you want to use can be confused with the trademark. There’s a popular TV show named “Gogglebox” in the UK, apparently different enough from “Google”. A place where I worked hired a security company named “Apple Security”, also fine because they worked in an area where Apple has no trademarks.

You need to figure out how close your name is, whether are using it actually in an area where someone has a trademark, whether the name is arbitrary (“Google Security” is more problematic than “Apple Security”) and how litigious the company is.


Read the answer to the linked question again, specifically the parts

trademark protection is a matter of private civil lawsuits...


the key question is whether a reasonable person would be confused into assuming that there is some connection...

Whether a reasonable person would be confused between a company called Googley or Googly Eyes and the search company Google would be settled in court, by a jury and/or judge in a civil, not criminal matter.

And, the big question you should be concerned about is how litigious Google might be when they 1) discover a company called Googley or Googly Eyes, and which 2) also develops software. We can safely assume that Google has much more money and better lawyers than you do.

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