• Trademarking Your Out of Home Name

    Vinyl printer Circle Graphics is suing Build-a-Sign over the use of sponsored ads and keywords which violate Circle Graphics trademarks.  Trademarking your out of home company name is important as Q Publishing versus OUTFRONT Media demonstrates.

    • In 1976 Q Publishing started OutFront magazine a gay and lesbian publication in Denver, Co.  Q Publishing neglected to register the trademark.


    • In 2014 CBS Outdoor rebranded to OUTFRONT Media.  OUTFRONT MEDIA filed a trademark request in September 2014.


    • In February 2015, Q Publishing sued OUTFRONT for common law infringement of the trademark. Q Publishing said that clients were sending checks in payment of invoices to OUTFRONT’s Colorado office.


    • In April 2016 the two parties settled out of court.  Insider notes that both companies continue to use the name.  OUTFRONT Media had a reasonably strong legal case and was probably able to keep using the trade name because Q Publishing hadn’t registered the trademark.

    Registering a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office prevents another company from doing business with a name which is identical to yours. It also prevents you from having to change your name if someone else registers the trademark and asks you to stop using it.

    There are 2 Ace Outdoors, 2 American Outdoors, 2 Atlantic Outdoors, 2 Coastal Outdoors and 2 Jones Outdoors.  This may not be a problem if you are in different parts of the country but imagine the confusion if you are active in the same market.

    Here’s a link to a Wall Street Journal article on How to Register a Trademark for a Company Name.  If you don’t have the time or expertise to to it yourself you can hire a lawyer.  Billboard Insider is trademarked.  It cost $225 in filing fees and $660 in legal fees.

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