Why registering your name with Companies House is not the same as registering a trade mark…..

Many new businesses are aware that Companies House is the place to go in order to register their new company name.  Unfortunately many believe that will also prevent competitors from using their name but sadly this is not necessarily the case.

When you apply to register a new name at Companies House, they will only check to see whether an identical name to yours has already been registered with them.  If not, and provided it’s not offensive, then it should be registered.

This is not however the case with trade marks.  If you file a trade mark then anyone with an existing (prior) trade mark which is not only identical but also ‘confusingly similar’ to yours, may seek to oppose your application.  In a worse case scenario they could not only prevent you getting a trade mark registered but also prevent you trading under your chosen name which could mean hundreds of pounds in wasted start up fees.

The best way to help reduce this risk is to instruct a trade mark lawyer to carry out a Clearance Check prior to registering your new name either at Companies House or by filing it as a trade mark.  They should be able to highlight any potential pitfalls up front and therefore give you the opportunity of changing or tweaking your name/brand before it’s too late.

We have had many years’ experience of carrying out Clearance Checks for clients across all business sectors. If you would like to arrange a free consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you, please let us know.