Author Topic: Ramifications of reviving an old company name  (Read 1001 times)

brett2k07

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Ramifications of reviving an old company name
« on: June 07, 2016, 02:06:10 PM »
I apologize if this has been asked before, I've been trying to search all morning, but I keep getting a "database error" so I think the search functionality is broken at the moment.

I have a hypothetical question that came as a result of a graduate class:

I'm looking at starting a business, and the name I want is available for use within my state, however, someone had the name before I did. I'm curious if I were to start using that name, would I be responsible for any debts the company may have owed but never paid? Conversely, if the company is owed money by someone (a government entity for instance) would I be able to collect on that money? My gut instinct in both situations says no, because this would be a separate corporation with a different set of bylaws and officers, but given the ambiguity that sometimes surrounds corporations, I started debating it internally.

Just as an example, if I were to register the name Montgomery Ward or Circuit City (and let's assume there's no trademark infringement issues) and start doing business under that company name, common sense would say I would not be responsible for any of the old Montgomery Ward or Circuit City debts, and I would not be entitled to any of their assets, if any were to pop up (like money being owed to them). But I like to make things complicated and started over thinking it, so now I can argue both sides of the coin, lol.

Any thoughts on the topic?

seattlecyclone

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4982
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Seattle, WA
    • My blog
Re: Ramifications of reviving an old company name
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 02:20:48 PM »
It seems unlikely that you would actually owe any debts incurred by the former, completely unrelated business that just happens to have the same name. However the old business's creditors may not know that you operate a completely separate business and may try to get in touch to collect on the debt. I'll leave it to you to decide how likely you think this is and how willing you are to deal with the hassle involved in getting the creditors to agree that you're not related to the old business.