IP myth: Companies House registration protects your brand
It is a common misunderstanding to think that registering a company name at Companies House will provide you with a right to use it in trade and to stop others from using the same name.
In fact, Companies House and the UK trade mark register are in no way connected; the fact that Companies House allowed registration of your company name does not mean that you will be able to also register it as a trade mark, or even actually use it for your goods or services.
If there is an identical/similar trade mark already registered at the UK Intellectual Property Office for the identical/similar goods or services, you might be at risk of infringing such earlier mark – and your company’s name registration may be found to be in infringement of the pre-existing trade mark if you use it in trade. This can be an expensive mistake if you are forced to re-brand, change your website, packaging of your goods, marketing materials, etc.
You should also bear in mind that Companies House registration will not allow you to stop third parties from using a similar name – in fact, third parties will only be prevented from registering exactly the same name, but they will be able to register any variation thereof – or even register a trade mark for your company name and use it in trade.
We would therefore recommend conducting a trade mark search before registering a company name – and if the name is available, you should apply to register a trade mark asap – before someone beat you to it – to ensure that you have a right to use it and stop third parties from using the same or confusingly similar name in relation to the same/similar goods/services.
Briffa advises on all aspects of trade mark law and practice and offers free consultations to all new clients. if you would like to discuss trade marks or have any intellectual property needs or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or on 020 72886003.
Written by Anastasia Troshkova, Solicitor