Success in company names tribunal application
Names define our companies and decisions surrounding companies' name can be some of the most time consuming. But have you ever wondered what you should do if you found out that another company had been formed with a name similar to your own company name? This article highlights Blake Morgan's recent win at the Company Names Tribunal.
The South Coast Commercial Litigation IP team has successfully obtained an Order for the change of a company's registered name at Companies House.
Earlier this year our client became aware of a number of companies with registered names at Companies House that were almost identical to their business name. These company names were a clear infringement of the Trade Marks our client had obtained to protect their business's reputation and goodwill. A number of these issues were resolved promptly through correspondence. However, one matter had to be referred to the Companies Name Tribunal through an application for a change of company name of registration.
The application was filed in April 2017 and we are pleased to confirm that we have now obtained an Order from the Companies Name Tribunal confirming that the infringing company must change its name within one month. If the company does not do so the Adjudicator will determine a new company name and this new name will be recorded at Companies House as the company's registered name.
Ben Evans, Associate in the Commercial Litigation IP team, said "The Company Names Tribunal is a really useful weapon in a brand owner's armoury. Whilst the Tribunal's remit is limited to registered company names, not trading names, it is a cost effective procedure that produces tangible results – if a respondent ignores an Order to change its name then the Tribunal will do it for them. In this case, we were dealing with a respondent that was ignoring our correspondence and were faced with the choice of issuing court proceedings or filing a complaint with the Tribunal. Going down the Tribunal route meant that we achieved the right result, in a fraction of the time of court proceedings and at a very modest cost."
This is an example of just one of the various types of enforcement procedures we can offer to companies to assist in the protection of their brand and reputation. In addition, this should serve as a reminder for new and existing companies to thoroughly consider any existing intellectual property rights owned by third parties when thinking of possible new company names.
If you would like any advice regarding potential issues surrounding company names or trademarks please contact Ben Evans in our Commercial Litigation IP team: Ben.Evans@blakemorgan.co.uk or contact the Company Secretarial team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch with the team.