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Company Names Adjudication

Company Names Adjudication

02/09/08

The Company Names Adjudicator Rules 2008 come into force on 1 October 2008. These Rules, which are to apply retrospectively, will enable a party to object to the registration of a company name on the UK Companies Register that "has been registered with the intention of extracting money from the complainant or to prevent him from registering a company name in which he has goodwill" (opportunistic registration).

A new tribunal has been set up to receive complaints. It will be based at, and administered by, the UK IPO.

If a complaint is successful, the Company Names Tribunal has the power to make an order to direct the company to change its name. If the company fails to comply, the Tribunal has the power to choose a new name for it. An appeal to the High Court will be available.

It seems that the Tribunal might take a similar position to WIPO in the adjudication of domain name disputes and "abusive registrations" although the process of obtaining a gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) name is itself currently undergoing a major overhaul that will make it more akin to the process of a trade mark application.