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New Jersey business litigation: What's in a name?

Couples in our state that are looking for a low cost alternative to divorce have a couple of options. The first is the New Jersey Divorce Center, and the second is the NJ Divorce Center. This similarity in names is not the only thing that has made the New Jersey Divorce Center decide to file business litigation.

The New Jersey Divorce Center has alleged that the NJ Divorce Center's website is substantially similar as well. So far that's where the similarities between the companies end. The Pleasantville based New Jersey Divorce Center has filed a federal lawsuit in Camden against the Deepwater based NJ Divorce Center for trademark infringement. The plaintiff is asking for all of the money it has made with the use of the name "Divorce Center" the Pleasantville company has trademarked.

The Deepwater company may soon be able to make the lawsuit disappear. It has plans to revamp its website and may even change the company's name in order to avoid having to "deal with this mess" in the future. Considering the fact that both companies are run by paralegals without the supervision of an attorney, this may not the last time these companies end up facing litigation.

It can be difficult for a company to trademark a common name or phrase that directly applies to a certain business. For instance, it would be difficult to start business litigation against an apple orchard for using the words apple orchard in its name since it directly describes the business. Of course, there are exceptions to most every rule, and any company that questions whether there is a trademark violation may find it beneficial to consult someone that is qualified to give advice on the subject.

Source:, "Divorce Center seeks separation--from Divorce Center," Jane M. Van Bergen, April 29, 2013

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