I am currently in a dispute with someone who started using my company name 7 years after I started and incorporated my business.
When I found this person in NY (I am in MI) was using the .net version of my website with the same name (but not incorporated)
, I consulted with a lawyer who informed me the trademark had been abandoned and that I should apply for the registration and, upon being approved and assigned the trademark, that I could stop her from using the name.
Well, the trademark is now mine, the lawyer who gave me the advice is no longer practicing locally and I'm in a bind. In consulting another trademark attorney, he told me that since I got the trademark after she started her business and she's practicing in another state, I don't have any legal grounds to stop her from using my company name. Since our industry and client base is worldwide (being virtual), I feel I should be able to stop her from trading on my unique name and hard earned reputation.
She has falsely used other organization's logos on her website, claiming she was a member and, as I'm a member of the same organization, I spoke with the owner/moderator who has been asking her to stop using her logo since she's NOT a member. After I sent her a "cease & decist" letter she responded and wants to continue using the company name. When I pointed out that she's in breach of this organization's "Code of Ethics" she replied "Oh, I'm not a member anymore and I need to remove their logo from my site".
As she's highly unethical, I don't want to offer her a licensing agreement to continue using the name and can't afford $10K to take her to court. Does anyone have any suggestions or similar experiences?
Instant Assistant, Inc.®