At first glance, a business' name may seem like a very simple thing. However, a name can actually serve some incredibly important roles for a business. It can serve as a way consumers can identify a business and can convey to consumers what a particular business stands for. A business' name can also serve as something of a storage point of a business' professional reputation. Business owners often spend a great deal of time and energy deciding what their business' name will be.
Given how important a name can be to a business, it is not terribly surprising that legal disputes sometimes come up between businesses over names. Recently, such a dispute has arisen involving a Michigan golf course.
The golf course in question is in Iron Mountain and it came into being in the late-90s. It is called the TimberStone Golf Course at Pine Mountain.
A few years ago, another golf course came into being that calls itself the TimberStone Golf Course. That course is located in Idaho.
The Michigan course argues that the Idaho course's use of the TimberStone name could cause consumers to get confused and thus that the Idaho course should not be allowed to use this name. A federal lawsuit was recently brought in Illinois by the Michigan course in relation to this argument. One wonders what the court in this name-dispute case will decide.
It can obviously be a very serious matter for a business when another business engages in name-related conduct or other conduct which could cause consumer confusion, as such confusion could lead to a loss of business for a company or perhaps a harming of its reputation. Businesses that are in a name-related dispute or some other dispute regarding potential consumer confusion with another business and are wondering if legal action is possible and if taking such action is advisable should consider talking with a knowledgeable business law attorney about the matter.
Source: Golf Digest, "What's in a name? The owners of two courses, both called TimberStone, may soon find out," Peter Finch, Aug. 8, 2014