The name of the company is its business card and the first thing a consumer learns about it. It should meet the criteria of recognition, comprehensibility and give an idea of what kind of business the company is engaged in. In many situations, before an active marketing campaign starting, when a new product is introduced to the market, when competitors causing potential problems appear, registration of a name (organization, brand, individual product, etc.) is very much in demand. To register your trade name is maybe not the easiest and fastest procedure, but it provides a lot of business benefits.
A legal entity may have several names/brands to produce goods or provide services. To protect the intellectual property (trade names, business names) from copying by competitors, it is necessary to timely obtain exclusive rights to these objects by registering verbal, graphic and combined elements.
What is trade name?
Each legal entity has a specific name, which consists of an indication of the legal form (LLC, JSC, etc.) and the actual name of the company. Unlike a trademark, which is designed to distinguish the products of one company from the goods and services of another, the trade name distinguishes the company from its competitors. All rights to the registered trade name belong to the legal entity.
First of all, registering a company or product name gives them uniqueness, and as a result, increases their recognition. Only you can use the trade name after trademark name registration and your rights will be protected by law.
Registration is possible not only for the name of the legal entity but also for the names of brands, products, stores, trademarks and other means of individualization. Trade names perform various functions: some individualize the company as a whole, others a particular line of its products, for example.
Thus, a company name that has been not officially registered does not give its owner the rights:
- to state protection of a trademark;
- to conduct commercial activities by the company with the coincidence of its name (in whole or part) with the names of other enterprises.
You can use the company name in any way that is not against the law, for example, by indicating it on signs, letterheads, invoices, and other documentation, in announcements and advertising, on goods or their packaging. However, it is not possible to dispose of a company name, unlike a name registered as a trademark. The company name can not be sold or transferred to third parties for use.
Trade name registration procedure
Business names (in particular, the name of the company) refer to the means of individualization of the company. A legal entity becomes the full owner of a company name only after it is registered as a business entity. In this case, the company gets the exclusive right to its name, it is recorded in the constituent documents, and the company can use its name after its registration is over. But in order to protect business name for no one else to claim it, and to secure the exclusive right, an additional procedure is needed. This is registering it as an object of intellectual property.
A catchy, harmonious and original name provides the company with recognition and creates the necessary associations. Successfully name your company is the right step towards business success. But before starting the registration, you must make sure that your name has not been used and registered by someone else. If this is not done, the company may be sued and collected a fine for violation of exclusive rights.
The violation of the exclusive right to dispose of the trade name is its use by another person (individual or legal) within the same type of business activity. In practice, this may mean the following:
- two companies use a similar or identical commercial name, designations, and logos;
- similar names are used to register a domain name or create promotional products (if there is confirmation of this through the documents received from the company);
- registration and operation of trademarks, to a large extent or confusion resembling the existing ones;
- registration of a legal entity with a name that is similar to the name of another legal entity conducting the same activity in the same region.
The main condition for the correct choice of the company name (and protection of business name after successful registration subsequently) is the absence in the selected region (or throughout the country) of enterprises with the same name and operating in the same field of activity.
The pros and cons of trade name protection
A good name for a company is one that is easy to remember, stands out from competitors, is associated with something positive, and stimulates consumers to buy. Registration of the company name for trade name protection is relevant in cases where there is a need to expand the rights to existing trademarks or to change these marks themselves. The company name is the main attribute that individualizes the company and is present in all its documents, signs, and often also on the packaging of goods, in outdoor, print and online advertising.
The name of the enterprise is the first thing any person pays attention to: from the end consumer to partners, suppliers, and media representatives.Atrium Business Solutions
When choosing a new name for your company before registering, use the following recommendations:
- Check if your name matches existing company names. If it turns out that someone already uses the same name, you will save a lot of money and time by choosing another option for registration. Use the search engines, look at the registers of patents, trademarks, and other state registries, refer to all available online and offline sources.
- Keep in mind that business is a dynamic thing, and the company’s scope of activity may change after some time. It is not always possible to choose a universal name that is suitable for all situations, and then for continuing business name protection, it would be advisable to start registering a new name.
- Do not mislead your target audience by using words and phrases from completely different areas. The name should match the industry and market niche of the business. Otherwise, your customers will seek not the goods or services that you offer.
- Focus on your customers. Study the interests, needs, age, income level of your target audience and choose a name that will definitely hook it.
- The trade name should clearly describe the rage of business of your company, and remind about your goods or services. In this case, it will be easier not only to the consumer (the name will be quickly remembered) but also to you both at the stage of trade name registration and to drive out the competitors.
To increase the legal protection of the trade name (slogan, brand, domain or logo), it must be registered as a trademark. What is the benefit of this?
- Exclusive right after receiving a trademark certificate.
- The ban on the use of the name (including the registration of domain names with the same name) in the pre-trial procedure.
- A trademark can be entered in the customs register to prevent the import of counterfeit goods.
- The owner of the mark can receive compensation for losses incurred with the illegal use of the name by competitors.
It will be useful for your business to have a bright and recognizable brand, and registering a trade name becomes the first step.