Problems after Company Name Registration

Registration of your company name does not mean you are free from challenges or problems in the future, consider the following:

  • The Secretary of State can issue a direction that instructs your company to pass a resolution to change its name within a certain time, because:
    • a third party may object that your company name is too similar to their name i.e. your company name creates a hanger of confusion between the two companies
    • if the Secretary of State believes that your company gave misleading information on registration then you may (within 5 years of registration) be directed to change its name
    • where the Secretary of State believes that your company name gives such a misleading impression about the company’s activities that the public are likely to suffer harm you may be directed to change the name.
  • A recent inclusion into company law is the new right of complaint within the company names adjudicator. Any person may apply to the company names adjudicator if your company’s name is the same as or sufficiently similar to a name in which he has goofwill.
  • Passing off is a tort actionable where a third party can show they have goodwill in its name, that your company is misrepresenting itself as that third party and that damage us caused. To protect yourself from trade mark actions you should ensure that you check: internet search engines, phone books, trade journals, magazines etc
  • Trade mark infringement. Where your company uses a name that is the same or similar to a registered trade mark (or service mark) ten the owner of that mark may be able to bring an action for trade mark infringement against the company. As a result you should conduct (or instruct someone to conduct) a trade mark search before proceeding with your company name. In fact best practice would be to register your company name as a trade mark before you register the company name.

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