Trade Names

A trade name is the name under which a business operates. The purpose of the Dutch Trade name law is to protect a company from deception or confusion, which could arise if a third party uses his trade name or a tradename similar thereto.

How do I obtain trade name protection?

Trade name protection requires that the trade name is actually used for operating the business. Examples are use of the trade name on a business building, use of the trade name on business stationery, or use of the trade name on the business website. For trade name protection, the name under which the business actually operates is decisive. Foreign enterprises can be granted such protection as well when their trade name is known in the Netherlands.

Contrary to trademarks, valid trade names can be descriptive in relation to the goods or services offered by the company. Such trade names are quite popular. An example of such a descriptive trade name is Coffeecompany for a coffee company. Purely descriptive trade names are not exempted from trade name protection. However, additional circumstances are required to successfully invoke protection of descriptive trade names.

How can I use trade name protection?

The Dutch Trade Name Act prohibits the use of a trade name which is already used by another business, or the use of a trade name which is slightly different, when there is a likelihood of confusion between the businesses concerned. When assessing such risk of confusion, the locations and the cores of the businesses at hand are to be taken into account.

Our expertise

Our IP attorneys have thorough experience in relation to the protection of trade names. We are keen to be your trusted advisor for all your question relating to the law concerning trade names.