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Can my registered company name prevent a competitor from using it?

Posted on 16th August 2017 in Intellectual Property

Posted by

Jill Headford

Partner and Solicitor
Can my registered company name prevent a competitor from using it?

There are some common myths around the ability of a limited company to prevent competitors using its name. Often we are approached by frustrated businesses who have discovered someone else has been using their name but have no registered trade mark. They ask what protection their registered company name offers. Sadly the answer is almost nothing.

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Registering a company at Companies House offers no real protection. Having registered a company name only prevents another person registering a company with the same or very similar name, it does not stop them using it in business since companies can trade under a different name to their registered name (sometimes referred to as a trading style or trading name). Trading names are not registered at Companies House and Companies House has no authority over them.

Only the owner of a validly registered trade mark has the exclusive right to use that name. This means someone could register a company in a different name to yours and still trade using your name. The consequence of this being that business should try to obtain a registered trade mark at the earliest opportunity.

If you require any advice regarding any matter similar to this, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team on 01392 207020.

Company & Industry

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