Trade name law

A trade name is the name under which a company operates in the course of trade. Just like design law, database law, trademark law and copyright law, trade name law is part of the intellectual property rights.

The trade name of a company is often closely related to the company’s brands, but is substantially different. Protection of the trade name does not require registration. Trade name law arises by operation of law through use in the course of trade. A company can, for example, use the trade name in a domain name, in advertising or on invoices.

Trade name law protects companies against unfair competition by use of their trade name or a similar name by third parties. A logo does not fall under the protection.

Infringement occurs when a trade name causes (possible) confusion among the public compared to an older trade name. The scope of protection is limited to the geographical area and the sector in which the company operates.

For companies, trade name law is an easily accessible way to protect their company name. There are no costs involved and a company can use several protected trade names.

The choice for descriptive trade names is popular; they can easily be found on the Internet. On the other hand, the scope of protection of a descriptive trade name is smaller. Trade name law does not give the holder a monopoly on normal and common language.

Our attorneys are experienced specialists in trade name law and understand the value of a strong trade name. We therefore know how to protect your trade name in a strategic and efficient manner. If necessary, we litigate for both plaintiffs and defendants, both in summary proceedings and proceedings on the merits.

Our services

  • Conducting proceedings on trade name infringement, including interlocutory proceedings, proceedings on the merits and appeals
  • Corresponding on trade name infringement: cease and desist letters and negotiations
  • Drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts, such as licensing agreements and distribution agreements
  • Advice on trade name infringement, scope of protection and choice of trade names
  • Advice on the use of trade names in domain names, Adwords and advertising