Don’t part company with your name !

Registering your company name, trading name or domain name doesn’t give the same protection as a Trade Mark registration!

Have you noticed many companies with the same or similar names? There are several Station House Hotels in Ireland (Clifden, Letterkenny and Kilmessan in Meath) yet they are all independently trading.

By registering your brand name or trading name as a Trade Mark you may be able to prevent others from using that particular name. To be first to register is vital.

For information:

Irish companies register their company names at the Companies Office.  They are in effect legal persons. The Companies Office will  not register a company name which is identical to that of an existing company name, but will Companies Officeregister a company name which could be considered to be confusingly similar to an existing company name. A company name is, however, not a monopoly right and its registration would not prevent a competitor using the principal identifying feature of the company name as a trade mark.

A business or Trading Name is simply a trading name of a person or persons including a legal person and must be registered as a business name. There are no checks on similar names.

A domain name is in effect an address on the internet.  Its registration can prevent the registration of an identical name but not a confusingly similar name.

If a name or brand has been used substantially in connection with goods or services but is not protected as a Trade Mark , Common Law rights could be established as a consequence of that use, enabling the owner to prevent any other company using that name or a confusingly similar name.  Common Law rights can be invoked in a passing-off action before the Courts to prevent the use of the name or a confusingly similar name by others.  A passing-off action is, however, horrendously expensive.

A Trade Mark which is intended to be used in connection with goods and/or service can be registered as a Trade Mark under the Trade Marks Act.  A registered trade mark is a monopoly right.  It can be invoked to prevent the use of the same or a confusingly similar trade mark on the goods or services in respect of which it is registered.

It is advisable to get professional assistance in this very specialised area.

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