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07-03-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
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Dillema with having the same name as another local photographer

I've considered to make a proper website about my passion for photography. On the site I would have a short bio about myself, a gallery with shots and contact information if some one would want to get in contact with me concerning my photography.

My long term goal is to at some point have photography as a side income.

Now to the dilemma.... I was just looking up available URLs out there and noticed that there is another photographer in Sweden with the exact same as me. His URL is his/mine exact full name. He works as a professional photographer.

The obvious dilemma I see in front of me is that people might confuse us both. I also wonder if he could claim our name to be his trademark. What you guys would have done if you were in the same situation?

I could of course register the same domain but with a different prefix, like .net, but that would make it very easy for people to mix our sites by mistake.

07-03-2009, 12:49 PM   #2
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I have several friends with different name in business or professionally for various reasons. One fellow uses his nickname (Andy as opposed to Andrus). Another used his middle name instead of his first name (Forrest as opposed to Ralph). You might also be able to use your first and middle initial or simply go by your full name (B. G. Smirf or Blue Guy Smirf).

The key is to be absolutely consistent in regards to your business identity.

As for the Internet domain name. Avoid using the same name with a different TLD (.net rather than .com). If there were a domain name dispute, the other guy would likely win based on historic use of the name.


(Worked for years in the domain name industry...)
07-03-2009, 12:51 PM   #3

If he's been in the business for some time, I think you should use a nickname with your family name or something. If you both would be starting now, a solution could be to use two names but in this case it might just cause mix-ups.

EDIT: I personally don't think I have one single namesake in the world.
07-03-2009, 01:39 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys. Its much appreciated!

Now when I think of it, I suppose I could take the three first letters in my first name and surname and make an URL out of that. I actually have a website containing those letters already that I've had up and running since 2003. Not a proper website but a site provided by a Swedish counterpart to AOL, sort of.

Since that site has been around much longer than this other guys site, and I've used that abbreviation in other forms on-line, email addresses etc. since the late 90s I should be safe.

Another question that pops up in my mind. Is it possible for the other photographer for example to copy right our name in the use of photography since it's his business name?

07-03-2009, 01:49 PM   #5
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Well if you were in the US you could sue him for identity theft and then take his business...

Okay, seriously now. Since he's already established I would avoid using anything in your business name that could possibly cause legitimate confusion between the two of you.
Since you both have the same actual name there will likely be someone confusing the two of you for no reason caused by either of you, and that's okay and to be expected. It could even work to your mutual advantage at some point if you establish a relationship with him before hand.
But if a choice of name, etc. - even if you didn't intend to cause harm - incites confusion then you're asking for trouble and if it goes "official" you'll likely lose.

The copyright issue is interesting though and I'd love to hear from someone really knowledgeable about that. If two photographers named "John Smith" wish to copyright their work how does that work.
07-03-2009, 02:07 PM   #6

In the US you could incorporate your name: John Smith, Inc. Then your name is out there with none of the personal liability. Also it would matter if he did a ficticious name or a dba
07-03-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
Damn Brit

Why not come up with a catchy business name.? You don't have to use your name, after all, you aren't using it for your user name here I assume.

07-03-2009, 02:31 PM   #8

Smirf Fotografi AB
07-04-2009, 01:41 AM   #9
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I've talked about this with some one who know how this things works legally in Sweden now. He said there is absolutely no chance legally that other guy can make me change my domain name or prevent me for using my own name in the photography business. So that is a relief!

I'm used with getting mixed with others who have the same name already. There is two other men in my town with the same name as I who I used to get phone calls for until I added a title to my name in the phone book....

The chief of the fire department. An eldery man called me once and asked me what to do when his TV-set was on fire. I told him to try to cut the oxygen supply to the flames with a blanket and call 112 ( our 911) stat!

The second man with my name is some sort of spiritual guru who heals people over the telephone. So people from all over Sweden, Finland and Norway called me to get healed. At times those phone calls were at least 60% of the phone calls I got. Now in retrospect I should have played along and pretended to heal them and told them what bank account to send their money to.

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