Differences and notes on business names and trade names

Business Names And Trade NamesCurrently, in relation to a business operation, Vietnamese law stipulates two types of names: business names and trade names. These names are commonly used by consumers to identify goods/ services of one enterprise from another enterprise. However, not everyone can distinguish the difference between trade names and business names pursuant to the current law.

In this article, BLawyers Vietnam presents information that will help readers distinguish between trade names and business names based on relevant legal regulations.

1. Business name
  1. A business name is the name that an organization or individual registers with the state as the name that will be used in business operations; recorded in the Enterprise Registration Certificate (or Enterprise Operation Registration Certificate, etc.), which is subject to the adjustment of enterprise laws.
  2. The composition of a business name: A business name includes 02 elements in the following order:
    • The type of enterprise; and
    • The private name.
  3. Function: To distinguish this enterprise from other enterprises in business operations. Business names are used in transactions and legal activities related to such enterprise.
  4. Establishment basis: Established through enterprise registration procedures and recorded in the Enterprise Registration Certificate.
  5. Scope of protection: Protected nationwide.
  6. Business names are not objects of intellectual property protection.

Examples of business names: Cong ty Luat BLawyers Vietnam, Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company, Honda Vietnam Company, etc.

2. Trade name
  1. A trade name is the name used by an organization or individual in business operations to distinguish the business entity with that name from other business entities in the same field and business area.
  2. Composition of a trade name: Vietnamese laws do not stipulate, however, that a trade name must have a proper name element, unless it is widely known owing to use.
  3. Function: To distinguish the business entity with that name from other business entities in the same field and business area.
  4. Establishment basis: Recognized through the lawful use of the corresponding trade name in the business area (territory) and field of business, without the need to register with the state agency.
  5. Scope of protection: Protected in a certain business area and business area.
  6. Trade names are objects of intellectual property protection if they have been registered for protection.

Examples of trade names: BLawyers Vietnam, Vinamilk, Honda, etc.

Therefore, trade names and business names are different, but normally trade names can coincide with the proper name element in the business name.

3. Two notes on creating a business name that does not infringe on the trade name of another entity

According to the law on intellectual property, any act of using commercial indications that are identical with or similar to the trade names of others that have previously been used for the same type of product or service, or for similar products or services, causing confusion about the business entity, the business establishment or activities conducted under such trade names are considered an infringement of the right to the trade name.

Therefore, in the case of two enterprises that operate the same type of product, service, or similar products or services, the enterprise that registers the business name later is regarded to have infringed on the industrial property rights of the previous business’s trade name if:

  1. The business name is identical or confusingly similar to the protected trade name; and
  2. The protected trade name was used to establish the enterprise’s proper name without the owner of the protected trade name’s permission.

As a result, in addition to ensuring that the business name is not identical or similar to the previously registered business name, the registration entity must also guarantee that the business name does not infringe on the intellectual property rights of another business’s trade name.

The above is not official advice from BLawyers Vietnam. If you have any questions or suggestions about the above, please contact us at consult@blawyersvn.com. We would love to hear from you.

Date: 3 Jan 2024

Writer: BLawyers Vietnam

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