Company names

The means of individualization of participants in civil transactions, of goods, works or services that are legally protected under the law of the Republic of Belarus include trademarks, service marks and geographical indications. In addition, the law of the Republic of Belarus equally protects such means of individualization as company names.

A company name of the legal entity is defined in its charter and is subject to registration in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs.

The legal entity has the exclusive right to use its company name on goods and their packaging, in advertising, on signs, product leaflets, invoices, printed publications, official letterheads and other documentation related to its activities, or when exhibiting its goods at exhibitions and fairs held in the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

According to Article 8 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of March 20, 1883, to which the Republic of Belarus is a party, a trade name is protected in all countries of the Union for the protection of industrial property without the obligation of filing or registration, whether or not it forms part of a trademark.

Company names and Unfair Competition.

In accordance with the law of the Republic of Belarus any acts that are likely to cause confusion with respect to another’s commercial entity, in particular, as a result of unlawful use by any commercial entity of a company name which belongs to another commercial entity, and also putting on the market of goods unlawfully bearing company names of other commercial entities, are considered acts of unfair competition. Any act of unfair competition related to the acquisition and use of the exclusive right to company names of participants of civil transactions and of goods is also prohibited.

Persons that carry out unfair competition practices must stop illegal activities and publish a retraction of untrue acts and information constituting unfair competition. Any person who has been affected by unfair competition is entitled to demand compensation of inflicted damages from the unscrupulous competitor.

When establishing an act of unfair competition, the antimonopoly authority has the right to impose on commercial entities and their officials compulsory orders to change or limit the use of a company name.

Relationship between company names and trademarks. In accordance with the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Trademarks and Service Marks”those indications shall not be registered as trademarks in respect of the same or similar goods if they are identical or confusingly similar to company names (or  parts thereof) protected in the Republic of Belarus, the rights to which belong to other persons whose rights in the company names arose on a date prior to the filing date of the application for trademark registration.