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Question: How significant are the words “A” or “The” in a tradename or trademark?

I’m in the process of researching names for a start-up, and would like to avoid any brand confusion/TM infringement. Our top choice for the name is similar to a TM held by a company in California who has had the name TM’d since 2005. They are in the same industry which is clothing, namely shirts, pants and t-shirts. However, they are using the word “A …,” whereas we prefer to do without “A.”

Would we likely run into brand confusion or TM infringement if we attempted to use the TM without the word “A”?

Answer: It seems likely that the omission of “A” would not make your trademark/logo distinctive enough from the brand trademark. I suggest finding another trademark.

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