9 March 2016
Enterprise Name Rights
In China, enterprise name rights refer to the right of a lawfully established enterprise to legally use its name. An enterprise name consists of four parts: the administrative area, the name, the trade, and the form of organisation. The administrative area refers to the place where the enterprise is located, such as Guangzhou. The name refers to the name used by an enterprise to distinguish itself from other entities or individuals, such as Pangaoshou (潘高壽). The trade refers to an enterprise’s business field, such as pharmaceuticals. The form of organisation refers to whether the enterprise is a limited company, joint stock limited company or other forms of organisation. As such, a full enterprise name may be “Guangzhou Pangaoshou Pharmaceutical Company Limited”.
An enterprise name is approved by the local industry and commerce administration department within its jurisdiction, and as such enterprises in different regions or industries may have identical trade names.
In China, enterprise name rights can only be obtained through registration, a requirement when setting up a company.
Companies or individuals in Hong Kong and other member countries of the Paris Convention can have their trade names protected on the Chinese mainland in accordance with the provisions of the convention.
Trade name rights generally refer to the right to own the “name” part of the enterprise name. As China is a member country of the Paris Convention, it should offer trade-name protection to other member countries.