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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

You might not ‘own’
that business name

Question: Some people recently ordered books for children on cockroaches and other local subjects at the Blaisdell Center. The vendor was "Lehua Enterprises." Many people have not received their orders so have been calling my business, also named "Lehua Enterprises." I made a complaint with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs because that vendor apparently took my business name, with a phone listing in Mililani. Now, we cannot find any listing for that vendor. I am a professional writer and not a book vendor. Can you help trace that vendor and let people who ordered the books know what is going on?

Answer: The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has no records of that vendor, either, so if anyone has information, please call Kokua Line at 525-8686.

According to the department, no complaints have been filed under the trade name Lehua Enterprises, which was registered in your name (Hazel J. Yamada) in 1985.

But as a business, you don't have to register with the department, and registration does not provide any legal rights to a name.

If there is a dispute over ownership of a business's name, the state would not get involved, either to investigate or to pursue any charges.

"Registration simply is a form of public notice to the community that you are using that name or intend to use that name in commerce," said Ryan Ushijima, securities commissioner with the department's Business Registration Division.

To operate a business all you really need to get is a general excise tax license.

"Using the name provides common-law rights to ownership of that name," Ushijima said. You also can register the name with the U.S. Patent Office, which would give you some ownership rights.

"They do a much more exhaustive search of who might be using the name in the stream of commerce," Ushijima said. That's not the case on the state level.

"Continuous and open usage" of a name "in the stream of commerce is what provides you with ownership of that name and the right to control that name to the exclusion of others," Ushijima said. "Registration with the state is just notice to the community that that's your intention. Whether you actually do that is whole separate issue."

And it would be a civil matter between you and the person using the name that you have claimed.

Q: What are those concrete "things" on the side of Kamehameha Highway, on the mauka side approaching Radford Drive and on the makai side, near Kalaloa Drive? This is near the Arizona Memorial and Makalapa Gate. What is their purpose?

A: The concrete structures are entrances to underground passages, said Tom Gabrielli of the state Highways Division.

They were built by the military to allow troops to cross the highway, from the Navy housing complex to duty stations, without affecting traffic, as well as to minimize their exposure to enemy fire, he said.


To the driver in a silver truck on Wednesday morning, Feb. 7, who got mad at a driver who wouldn't let him cut onto the Dillingham offramp. He pushed his way in anyway then played an idiotic game of driving really slow to pay back that driver, while numerous cars zoomed in front of him. His stupidity held up an entire line of cars. Can't the DOT construct a low concrete barrier those few yards after the last traffic light to the offramp to prevent all those cars and buses from cutting in before there's a bad accident? -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

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