Our IP team constantly encounters this query and issue raised by its clients. For this reason, we are taking this opportunity to clarify and offer the necessary explanations and information as to what are the differences between a trademark and a tradename.
Let’s define the issue first. The issue that arises is the confusion surrounding the meaning of the words ‘trademark’ and ‘trade name’ for people who are not familiarized with these terms. The confusion stems from the fact that the two words have the same first component, thus it makes it difficult to understand that the word trade name is not just another name for trademarks. The two are quite distinct. An easy explanation is that trade – marks have to do with logos, whereas trade – names have to do with words.
A trade name is the official name under which an individual as a sole proprietor or a company, chooses to do business. This is the reason why a trade name is also often referred to as a business name. The practical function of registering a trade name is primarily for administrative and accounting purposes.
Despite the fact that registering a trade name/business name can certainly be an important component of branding, it will nevertheless not provide any intellectual property rights as to the use of the name or any legal protection for its use.
On the other hand, a trademark offers legal protection for a particular product or service. A trademark can, among other things, guarantee the quality of the goods and services, communicate and advertise the goods and services, differentiate from competition, decrease the need for legal proceedings, become security or the subject of pledge or enforcement.
Where there is any violation of a trademark without the consent of the trademark owner, the trademark owner’s rights are protected under the Law of Trademarks Cap.262 which governs the registration, maintenance and protection of trademarks in the Republic of Cyprus. You can find out about the importance of trademark registrations and the value they impose on to your business here.
Although registering a trade name does not provide any legal protection in the way that registering a trademark does, choosing a trade name should still be done thoughtfully as it can be viewed as the initial step in establishing an identity for your business in the marketplace.
The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided. For further information or advice, please contact Agis Charalambous, Head of Intellectual Property Department, Nicosia at tel +357-22447777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org