Registration of company name in Russia

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We register a trademark with a free check in Rospatent

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Alexander Dubok
Alexander Dubok
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Anatoly Dubok
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Dmitry Naplekov
Patent Attorney No. 2086.
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What is a company name?

A company name is a verbal designation that performs the function of individualization of a company. Synonyms: name (company, firm), name of a legal entity.

In all contracts and transactions, the company acts under its official name. It is signed by outgoing documents, it is indicated on the seals. The company name is a tool of its recognition in the legal field.

The company name consists of two parts:

  1. The first one explains the form of organization: LLC, OJSC, etc;
  2. The second is variable. As a rule, it reflects the type of activity of the company or contains the names (surnames, pseudonyms) of its owners, in allegorical form or directly indicates the range, purpose and quality of the products produced. In short, the founders are free to choose this part of the name, except for some restrictions imposed by law. (Read more in the article "What is the difference between a trademark and a business name?")

Only legal entities have the right to a business name. They receive it when registering a company. It is impossible to register a company without giving it a name, as such an organization would be legally incompetent.

The company name received upon the registration of the company is its property and is not subject to alienation. The rights to use the company name cannot be transferred to another person.

There cannot (in practice it happens, but according to the law it is not allowed) be two legal entities having the same or confusingly similar name, carrying out business or other activities in one industry on the territory of one administrative unit. An administrative unit means a state or an interstate association (e.g., EEC), if such a restriction is provided for in the statutory documents or treaties ratified by the members of the association.

The right of naming - the choice of a name for a legal entity belongs to the owner of the future enterprise or co-founders.

What is the difference between a business name and a commercial designation?

Specialists in patent law distinguish between the concepts of "trade name" and "commercial designation". A commercial designation is a means of individualization of an enterprise used for marking commercial, industrial or other enterprises owned by an entrepreneur or a legal entity. One and the same person may own several different businesses, and each of them will have an individual commercial designation. A commercial designation may coincide or not coincide with the company name. A commercial designation by itself is not subject to registration, but may be registered as a trademark for enhanced protection.

Why do you need to register a business name?

If a company name is acquired without registration as a trademark, why register it? This is a reasonable question. Why pay for something you can get for free?

It's all about competition. The overflow of the market with similar goods and services forces producers and sellers to fight for the attention of customers, to invest large sums in the creation of a reputation. But there are always those who want to take advantage of the results of someone else's work. This is what it looks like in the case of brand names:

  1. Let's say some firm managed to win the sympathy of consumers and created a positive image for itself. Another firm simply chooses an identical name for itself, and voila! - The customers flow in torrents, unable to distinguish between the two competing suppliers;
  2. The unscrupulous competitor has its own unique name. But for some reason writes your (or rather, its second part) on their products, signs, chooses similar in sound with your name domain for your online resource. To prove your exclusive right to use the company name will not be easy, if it is not registered as a trademark. Moreover - a competitor can register your company name as his trademark, because the uniqueness of trademarks is checked by the trademark database, not by company names. And from a legal point of view will be right;
  3. Your goods and services are discredited by the low quality of goods and services of a competitor with an identical or confusingly similar name. Reputation is a fragile thing. It cannot be restored in a court of law. Once disappointed or even deceived, the client will not waste time looking for the truth - it is easier for him to choose another supplier.

In order to avoid such situations the firm name is registered as a trademark.

Conclusions: a company name obtained during the registration of a company is intellectual property, but its protection is weak. You can theoretically register at least 10 companies with the same name, because the uniqueness of the name during the registration of a legal entity is not checked. It is possible to clear the market from competitors with a similar company name if it is possible to prove the priority of use, but it is difficult, costly, and does not always lead to the desired result.

Possibilities of a business name

The name of the company or enterprise allows a legal person to:

  1. Use it indefinitely for any business purposes: labeling, advertising, branding;
  2. To monitor the possible appearance of companies with a similar company name in its niche and demand that they change their name, as well as to prevent the appearance of trademarks that contain the company name or are indistinguishably similar to it;
  3. Avoid any claims to the use of their business name by competitors who have applied for registration of the company name as a trademark at a later date;
  4. Demand compensation for damages caused by the illegal use of similar to indistinguishable firm names in its niche, domain names and trademarks.

Registration of a company name as a trademark greatly expands these possibilities and simplifies the relevant judicial procedures. It is not easy to prove the fact of use of the company name in commercial activities, much less the priority of use. Certificate of registration of the name of the company as a trademark with the date of registration solves all issues.

In addition, trademarks are a commercial asset. They can be transferred under a license agreement and contract of alienation, as well as used as collateral property.

Since a trademark can be alienated in favor of another person, the rights to use it can be preserved even in the event of liquidation of the company. Then, when resuming commercial activity, the trademark can be used again. Importantly, the priority is retained: the period of use of a trademark is counted from the date of issue of the certificate of its registration, not from the founding of the company which possesses it.

The owner may also enter his company name as a trademark in the customs register so that no company can supply goods marked with an identical or similar to the point of indistinguishability commercial designation or trademark into the territory of the Russian Federation.

Where company names are registered

Registration of a firm name as a trademark in the Russian Federation is the function of Rospatent. It is the only organization with the right to issue trademark protection documents. Numerous private companies and patent bureaus may provide support services for registration, perform various preparatory work, conduct a dialogue with Rospatent, monitor the market to identify unfair competitors, but they have no right to issue registration certificates.

The stages of registration of a firm name as a trademark in Rospatent.

Interaction with Rospatent regarding registration of a company name as a trademark begins with filing an application. Its standard form can be found on the organization's website. After completing the form, attaching the necessary documents and receipts for the payment of state fees, one should expect an answer: issuance of a registration certificate or refusal. On average, the procedure takes up to 8 months.

First Stage of Registration: Formal Examination

The formal examination of Rospatent is similar in its essence to the preliminary examination of the materials of the lawsuit in court. At this stage, the fundamental possibility of consideration of the application is established: correctness of filling in the form, availability of all regulated additions, correctness of payment of the fees. But, unlike in court proceedings, in this case one will have to pay an additional fee for elimination of deficiencies.

The second stage of registration: substantive examination

This is the longest and most complicated stage. Rospatent specialists check the applied-for designation first of all for absence of absolute grounds for refusal of registration. You can read their list in detail in the article "Trademark Eligibility".

If the applied-for designation has no absolute grounds for refusal of registration as a trademark, uniqueness verification starts. A search through the databases of already registered trademarks and applications filed with Rospatent is conducted. The filed applications are sorted by filing date. Earlier ones have absolute priority over later ones.

The final stage of registration. Issuance or denial of a certificate

If the substantive examination is successful, the applicant is sent a copy of the decision approving the registration (with a receipt for payment of two more fees). The trademark registration certificate is issued within 1 month from the date of crediting the funds to the FIPS account.

If the expert examination reveals any circumstances which prevent the registration, the applicant is sent a copy of the conclusion of the expert examination indicating all the grounds for refusing the registration. The applicant must react within 6 months either by correcting the deficiencies or filing objections. Otherwise, a decision on refusing the registration of the trademark will be made. The sums of the paid fees in such a case are not refundable.

The applicant may refuse the registration of the designation and cancel the application on his own on personal grounds. No explanations shall be required. In this case the application will be considered withdrawn and the fees will not be refunded.

Submitting a registration application to Rospatent. Step by step instruction

Defining classes of the International Classification of Goods and Services

Brand names are registered as trademarks according to the rules of registration of the latter. And trademarks are tied to the sphere of activity of enterprises. That is, they operate in certain classes of the International Classification of Goods and Services. Dictionary: The International Classification of Goods and Services. At the moment the IMCT contains 45 classes, the first 35 of which are trademark classes and the 10 remaining classes classify services.

A trademark may be registered in one or more classes of the Nice Classification. If more than one class is indicated, an additional fee is charged for each of these classes.

You have probably already been involved in business before.

You have probably already had to determine the classes of the Nice Classification, so this should not be a problem.

Application Formation

СA standard application form for registration of a designation can be downloaded from the FIPS website in the "Trademark Registration" section. It should be filled out responsibly, since no corrections or blunders are allowed.

You can fill out the application by hand or by machine. Submit in person, by mail, or electronically.

Once applications are submitted, changes are accepted subject to the payment of an additional fee (in most cases). As required supplements to the application are attached:

When the application is received, it is given a number, which you can use to track it on the FIPS website.

Patent attorneys. What they do, why they're needed, how much they cost

If you have read this far, you must be very tired. To lighten the mood, we suggest solving a simple mindfulness problem.

So, question: which word occurs most often in paragraphs 4 and 5?

Answer: "Duty"

Indeed, in the process of registering a trade name as a trademark, the applicant does nothing but pay the fees for each "up-choo"! At the same time, Rospatent gives no guarantees that the certificate will eventually be issued. This circumstance forces entrepreneurs to turn to the services of patent attorneys, in particular - to the patent bureau "Pervoistok". This is an exceptional case, when the services of an intermediary help to save money.

The specialists of "Pervoistok" Patent Company will take care of the registration of the application and its support, starting from the day of filing up to the day of receipt of the registration certificate. You can also order individual one-time services:

Why Patent Attorneys Do Not Recommend Doing Preliminary Examination Yourself?

Yes, there are free resources for this, but they are not able to provide complete and up-to-date information. It is not difficult to find a 100% match, but signs and designations that are confusingly similar are harder to find. It could be in Cyrillic and Latin, with errors and special symbols, or just similar in meaning and sound. To find such coincidences is not a matter of a day, and one should have experience in it.

Protection of trade name

Cooperation with patent attorneys must be systematic. This is necessary in order to ensure effective protection of the registered trade name. The specialists of the "Pervoistok" Patent Office provide services for:

However, the company itself must also actively protect its name by using it to label goods and/or services. According to the law, the registration of a company name as a trademark is valid for 10 years. But if during the last 3 years there has been no registered use of this designation in a certain class of the Nice Classification, another company may apply for cancellation of registration in this class, and having received a positive response - an application for registration of its own, similar or analogous designation in this class of goods or services.

Brand names are registered as trademarks according to the rules of registration of the latter. And trademarks are tied to the sphere of activity of enterprises. That is - are valid in certain classes of the Nice Classification of Goods and Services. Dictionary: The International Classification of Goods and Services. At the moment the International Classification of Goods and Services comprises 45 classes, the first 35 of which are trademark classes, while the 10 remaining classes classify services.
A trademark can be registered in one or more classes of the Nice Classification. If more than one class is indicated, an additional fee is charged for each class.
In doing business, you have probably already encountered the need to define the classes of the Nice Classification, so there should be no difficulty in this matter

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