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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3493
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I am looking to sell products via the brand name "Norfolk Candles", however, I n

Customer Question

I am looking to sell products via the brand name "Norfolk Candles", however, I note that there is another company in the region trading as "The Norfolk Candle Company". My company specialises in B2B where as the other company is just B2C and has no specific logo etc, where as, I have a specific logo that is very unique to me. Am I at risk of being pursued for "passing off" ?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 7 months ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Is there any risk of confusion in the eyes of the public between your company and name and their company? How long have they been trading for? I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards ***** ***** have to go offline briefly but will be back within the hour.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Alex. My company is a start up, selling manufactured candles, gift boxed, on a business to business basis via dept stores, card shops, gift shops, gdn centres etc, whilst the other business sells to small crafts people various candle supplies to enable them to make candles in their own home. I am working on branding and looking to register the trademark "Norfolk Candles" with a logo, though, wanting to ensure that I am not mistaken for "The Norfolk Candle Company". I am conscious to remove the words "the" and "company" from the brand plus add the letter "s" to candles.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 7 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. Passing off requires one party to trade off the back of the good will and reputation of another party so as to take an unfair commercial advantage. They would also have to show there had been some confusion in the eyes of the public between the two brands. If the other party does not have goodwill in your proposed market and there is clearly no chance of the two businesses being confused (because of your unique logo) a claim for passing off is unlikely to succeed. The problem you may have is registering the trade mark and if this person objects - because it will be their prerogative to raise any objections. This is why a major consideration is who long this other entity has been trading? Is it even a limited company?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Andrew,The lady has been trading for approx 20 years from what I can see from her website, and supplies candle making materials to hobbyists. For the avoidance of doubt, whilst I have a distinctive logo, I think it may be easier long term to tweak the name to "Broadland Candles", thus, removing any doubts.Many thanks,Martin Church
Expert:  Alex J. replied 7 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. If you want to avoid all risk of a dispute then yes this would be the best course of action. In all likelihood you would probably not be able to register Norfolk Candles as a text trade mark - it would have to registered with the logo. Therefore if it is the logo that makes this distinctive, then using a different name is ***** ***** best course of action - especially where the person who has a possibility of objecting to its registration has built up 20 years of good will in a similar name and business. If they did object to your registration of the Trade Mark it will increase costs and delay the process significantly. Kind regards AJ

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