Norway plans to relax its rules for company name registration


The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry has issued a white paper proposing amendments to the Norwegian Company Trade Name Regulation, which regulates registration of company names.

The main proposed changes are as follows:

  • The requirement that a company name must be distinctive to warrant registration will be abolished, which should speed up the registration process. However, distinctiveness will be considered when determining the scope of protection for a company name, using the same requirements as those set out in the Trademark Act.

  • The company name registrar will limit his or her examination to identical company names. It will be (i) the applicant's responsibility to make the necessary preliminary investigations to ensure that the name for which it applies to register is not already registered and protected, and (ii) the registered companies' responsibility to monitor new registrations and enforce their rights against potential infringement by newly registered companies.

  • The protection afforded against the registration of identical and confusingly similar company names will no longer be limited to particular parts of Norway, extending instead to the country as a whole.

  • It will be possible to lodge an administrative appeal of the registrar's decisions to the Norwegian Patent Office, with further appeal to the Second Division Court. This will be in addition to judicial appeals proceedings.

Felix Reimers, Advokatfirmaet Grette DA, Norway

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