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A company named Blackboard exists, with trademarks on the name. I would like to use the brand name "Greenboard." Is there any possibility of trademark infringement if I use this name?

  • I don't think it would cause confusion among consumers

  • I did not know the company existed when I came up with the name

  • I would have distinct logos for my own brand

  • We would be businesses in the same industry with competing products

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  • Would you be competing in the same markets? If you're in different countries, or even if you're in different cities in the same country, it might not matter that you have a similar name or even the same name.
    – phoog
    Feb 15, 2023 at 11:23
  • @phoog Yes, competing in the same market.
    – Marvin
    Feb 16, 2023 at 19:14

2 Answers 2

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As a naïve customer, I would expect that a "green board" is likely a variation of the "black board", made by the "blackboard" company, probably manufactured in some more environmentally safe way, and therefore probably a bit more expensive. I would expect that the blackboard company will handle any problems that I have with a "green board", just as they do with a "black board".

That's just me, but the blackboard company will argue that my view is quite common for customers. So there would be confusion in the market, and you could easily be sued. I wouldn't predict whether you win or lose, but it will cost you money.

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The legal standard is whether the allegedly infringing mark is confusingly similar to the mark that is allegedly infringed. This is a mixed question of fact and law usually determined by the trier of fact (which is the jury, in a jury trial where there is a colorable dispute of fact regarding the issue).

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