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Going into legal battle over the name of your business can be pretty expensive, as well as disruptive to growth.

Choosing a business name

If you pick a business name that’s similar to someone else’s, however innocently done, you may be served with a cease and desist letter that forces you to change your business name. And changing the name of your business? That’s not often a simple process!

Changing the name of your business can entail a new shop sign, printed materials, domain name, and logo. And that’s on top of letting your existing customers know in order to avoid the risk of losing business.

Protecting your business’s name from being used by someone else

On the other side of this issue is the risk of someone else choosing your business name, or one which is intended to be very similar.

The main risks here are confused customers (that you’ve worked hard to acquire) accidentally shopping with the imposter, and brand damage if the new kids on the block aren’t that great.

That’s why it’s so important to protect your business name in a legal sense, so you’re able to take appropriate action if needed. So how can you legally protect your business name?

 Startup business accountancy services

Register a limited company

If you are a sole trader, you don’t have to register your name but you can choose to trade under a business name if you want. The problem with this is that it offers no protection if someone else wants to use it.

Registering as a limited company means that your business name is recorded with Companies House. It keeps things official, and also means no one else can register the same trading name. Be aware though, that while this can prove useful in a legal dispute, even this doesn’t offer full protection.

This is because a registered business name doesn’t necessarily need to be the name someone trades under. It means that people can still trade under the same name as yours, even if their registered name is different.

Trademark protection

Registering a trademark for your brand or business name doesn’t just help with business names. It can also protect your branding, products or services, and your logo design.

Trademarking means you can use legal action against anyone who tries to use your brand without permission, or tries to piggyback on your success by using the same name as you.

There are some restrictions on what you can and can’t register as a trademark, so it’s worth visiting the Government’s guidelines on this.

Trademarking and registering a limited company should hopefully ensure your business name is fully protected.

Find out how our online accounting services can help you with other areas of your business by calling 020 3355 4047.

About The Author

Christopher Jones

Forensics graduate-turned copywriter and blogger. I love turning complex topics into easy to understand, yet engaging pieces of content.

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