What protection does a company name have?
There are quite a few advantages that come with establishing a company, designed to protect both you personally and your business. Your trading name, brand and logo are extremely valuable assets to your business and that is why there are several legal safeguards established when you register a company.
By taking a look at what protection a company name has, you can more confidently conduct business, knowing your rights and limitations better.
The Companies Act 1993
This offers some protection to your brand name. Registration under the Companies Act 1993 is not allowed for businesses looking to register an identical name.
While this means no one else can register the exact same name as your company, it doesn't stop others from registering something very similar and then potentially trading off your hard-earned reputation. To protect your name in instances likes these, you may wish to investigate a trademark (see below).
The Trademarks Act 2002
This is perhaps the most effective way to protect your company name. There are two types of trademarks, one for the wording of your company name, the word mark, and device marks for logos.
Having a trademark registration allows you to take legal action should someone begin trading in the same industry using an identical or similar name or logo.
It should be brought to your attention however, that not all business names can be trademarked. Distinctiveness is a requirement, meaning you cannot trademark a company name that is descriptive to your business.
For example, although 'Hamilton Dog Walkers' is a great company name that will likely feature first on Google searches for those looking for dog walking services in Hamilton, the name is too descriptive and the trademark will be unregistrable.
Trademarks are for unique and distinctive names.
The Fair Trading Act 1986
You can use the Fair Trading Act 1986 to protect your company name should a competitor be suspected of misleading customers by using the same or similar brand name as you.
This is commonly seen when businesses attempt to copy packaging of a well-known brand, with the intention of deceiving customers into believing they are purchasing 'the real McCoy'.
The Copyright Act 1994
Any original artwork that has been used in the logo design for your company name can be protected under the Copyright Act 1994. You will see the common © symbol on logos claiming copyright. There is no need to register your logo anywhere to obtain this protection.
Information provided on this website is of a general nature only and not legal advice. Please visit our disclaimer for further information.