What is a company name and how does it differ from a trademark?

If you are the head of a company or an individual entrepreneur, you will benefit from legal literacy on the simplest issues. In this article we will get acquainted with the concept of "company name".

What is a company name?

A company name is a tool for individualization of a legal entity. It is used to sign outgoing documents, it appears in all transactions made on behalf of the company, it is mentioned in all kinds of statements, lawsuits, contracts, etc. The presence of a single unique name is mandatory for each legal entity (CE). Individual entrepreneurs are not assigned a company name.

Example of company name: LLC «StroyWestMash».

  1. «LLC»(«Limited Liability Company») - is a form of organization;
  2. «StroyWestMash» - is a unique name for the Legal entity.

Important: If two or more companies want the same name when registering, this is possible provided that they do business in different fields. In practice, this is often the case, as the registration authorities are not required to check the uniqueness of the company name.

Every legal entity receives a company name at the moment of registration. It is defined in the law as a verbal name that is unique in a particular field of activity and within the administrative territory, which explains the form of organization of the company and can reveal the essence of its work.

Important: The legislator has made it compulsory to explain the form of organization of the company by means of the company name. But the type of activity does not have to be disclosed if the company is commercial. Non-commercial organizations must be named in such a way that the sphere of their activity is clear from the name).

For example: the name of the world-famous Mercedes-Benz concern does not give any information about its line of business.

What is the difference between a company name and a trademark?

The concepts «company name» и «trademark» serve to individualize. The first definition is used to individualize the manufacturer itself. The second serves to individualize a company's products or services.

You should know that a trademark must be registered on a compulsory basis when opening a legal entity. Registration of a trademark is a voluntary procedure and is dictated primarily by the need to protect one's intellectual property from illegal use.

For a clearer perception of the essence of the question important differences are shown in the table.

CriteriaСompany nameTrademark
Purpose Manufacturer individualization Individualization of products or services
Method of designation Word or phrases Verbal, graphic, sound, light, color, olfactory, taste, combined
Method of use Official documents, advertising products, civil circulation, the Internet. Goods, packaging, labels, promotional products.
Definition Company name is a unique name of the company, under which it is registered in the register of legal entities (USRLE) and which is used in all official documents related to its activities. A trademark is a designation used to distinguish goods and services.
Copyright holder Legal entity Legal entity, individual entrepreneur
Validity period Indeed, throughout the entire period of the company's activity 10 years, renewable for the same period
Registration Registration of a legal entity and inclusion in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities Registration in Rospatent
Registration periods No more than 3 business days Standard registration - 6-12 months. Accelerated registration - 2-3 months.
Uniqueness check Search in USRLE/EGRIP databases Search by databases of registered trademarks, by databases of filed applications for registration or by international databases
The amount of the state fee 4000 rubles 16000 rubles + 1000 rubles for each additional class of the ICU over 5
Peculiarities of use The designation is necessarily indicated in the constituent documents. Protection of a trademark is revoked if the right holder does not use it within three years from the date of registration.
The place of action Territory of the Russian Federation. Territory of the Russian Federation. In case of international registration of a trademark, the countries of the Madrid system.
Disposal of exclusive right Not provided. Transfer or alienation of exclusive right is allowed.
Protection From the moment of registration of a legal entity in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. From the moment of registration with Rospatent.

What are the peculiarities of company name and trademark registration?

Wouldn't it be strange if two companies signed their documents the same way? Or if they put the same trademark on their products? In this case, these means of individualization would lose their function. Because the law stipulates that the firm name and trademark are the property of the company that registered them. Yes, that's right: the uniqueness of the claimed designations and names of legal entities is confirmed by registration. From this moment no one else in the Russian Federation has the right to register a similar firm name and trademark in overlapping activities.

The company name of a legal entity is registered from the moment of its establishment. No unnamed companies can exist in principle. It is not obligatory for a company to have a trademark. In order to formalize the ownership of an image and assign it the status of a declared designation, it is necessary to go through the registration procedure.

Each company can have an unlimited number of trademarks, as long as it is seen as commercially viable.

What are the requirements for a company name?

The first part of the company name, as mentioned above, explains the form of its organization. According to the laws of the Russian Federation, the founder of the company is free to choose the part of the name that is written in quotation marks, although there are some restrictions.

  1. The company name must not contain the full or abbreviated names of foreign countries and definitions derived from them.
  2. The name of a legal entity must not contain the names of government bodies of the Russian Federation, local government or indications of affiliation with them, as well as the names of existing public organizations and associations.
  3. The company name may not contain words and expressions that contradict the norms of morality and morality. Caution should be exercised when using the names of political and religious figures, national heroes, historically significant persons.

Important: The company name of a state unitary enterprise may contain an indication that such an enterprise belongs to the Russian Federation and a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, respectively, but only if such permission has been obtained in accordance with the procedure established by the Government of the Russian Federation.

How is a company name protected?

The laws of the Russian Federation guarantee the right of every legal entity and individual entrepreneur to use means of individualization, provided they are legally registered. Disputes arising around the right to use a business name are resolved in arbitration courts, the Court of Intellectual Property (CIP), the Chamber of Patent Disputes (CPT), the FAS or the MIA. Administrative and civil liability is provided for violations in this area.

Protection of the right to use a trademark is based primarily on the fact of its registration. However, there are precedents when such a right has been proved due to the wide popularity of the brand and the priority of the use of the brand name in overlapping activities. In the latter case, the decision is at the discretion of the judge, which may entail multiple revisions.

Company name is a unique name of the company, under which it is registered in the register of legal entities (USRLE) and which is used in all official documents related to its activities.

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