Etsy may terminate or suspend your account "at any time, for any reason, and without advance notice", and if Etsy terminates your account, you may lose any information associated with your account, including your content.
One reason Etsy may terminate or suspend your account is because you violated Etsy's Intellectual Property Policy, specifically, you used another person's trademark to sell your products or you copied someone's copyright protected work(s). I talk about both trademark and copyright takedown notices in my blog post Etsy on the Takedown-sy.
In this article, I focus on the importance of choosing a strong and unique shop name.
How much research did you do when choosing your shop name? If the answer is “none” then pay close attention to the following hypothetical:
The Doomsday Hypothetical
You sell knitted sweaters on Etsy using the shop name: NightyKnit. Mr. Doomdsay is also using Nighty Knit to sell sweaters on the internet. Unfortunately, Mr. Doomsday started using that name before you did, and Mr. Doomsday successfully registered NightyKnit with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Doomsday therefore has federal trademark rights. Sadly, you are infringing on those rights. Mr. Doomsday notifies Etsy that you are using his trademark. Etsy notifies you and suspends your account. You then receive a letter in the mail from Mr. Doomsday telling you to stop using the trademark. Mr. Doomsday further demands that you pay him some money.
Hopefully, this will only ever be hypothetical. Still, the lesson to learn from this post is that you should take time to research any shop name you intend to use (or are currently using). After you check the availability of your shop name on Etsy, you should search the shop name on Google. You should also search the United States Patent and Trademark Office online database. Etsy provides similarly helpful tips for choosing a shop name.
In addition to those tips suggested above, I highly recommend that you have a professional and comprehensive trademark search done, which will look at multiple sources to determine whether someone is using your desired shop name both in the United States and abroad.
Whether you are in the process of choosing a shop name or you are already using a shop name, take the time to do a proper trademark search, and of course, be Etsy Careful!