The five times small businesses were forced to change name – or face legal proceedings

(4) AutoZone vs. Cycle Zone

From Australia we go back to the US, and a small business located in Arizona. Run by Lenna and Bill Hamm, Cycle Zone sells off-road motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle equipment, riding apparel, marine supplies and other small products.

AutoZone, meanwhile, sells automotive parts through over 5,000 locations throughout the US. Taking the direct route, the Tennessee-based corporate insisted the Hamms relinquish domain names being used to provide links to third party advertisements for the retail sales of motorcycles to promote the business.

A legal letter from AutoZone lawyers demanded a change of name, change of social media accounts and commitment to not use any similar names in the future.

With the cost of simply replacing electric signage using the Cycle Zone name set to cost $15,000, the couple did not take the legal action lying down.

A quick look online reveals Cycle Zone is still trading under the same name, and has actually gone to the step of selling products online – something it was not doing beforehand.

Lenna Hamms’ advice for small business owners is simple: research trademark and possible “future issues” with a chosen name.

“We were just trying to build a business and live the American dream,” she said.

Keep reading to find out which British designer got hot under the collar.

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