Complaint against company name

You can complain about a company name to the Norwegian Patent and Trademark Office through the complaint scheme administrative review. Here you get an overview of the proceedings, formal requirements, the roles, responsibilities and tasks of the parties, and the duties of the Patent Office.

What is administrative verification of company names?

Administrative review of company names is a complaint scheme for anyone who believes that there is a legal basis for a "registered company name" to be revoked.

The complaints scheme only applies to companies that are registered in the Companies Register. Registrations in the Unit Register cannot be verified.

The person who submits a claim for administrative review is called the claimant.

A claimant can justify his claim that the company name is registered in violation of:

the general registration conditions in the Business Name Act §§ 2-3 and 2-5
the rights of others according to the Business Name Act § 2-6, or is registered in bad faith according to the Business Name Act § 2-6 second paragraph
It is important to note that the registrar (Brønnøysund registers) does not investigate whether the business name that has been applied for registration infringes rights under the Business Name Act § 2-6, but only whether the business name is identical to another business name.

In order for the claimant's business name to have protection against confusing characteristics, it must meet the requirements for distinctiveness in Section 14 of the Trade Marks Act. See Section 3-2 first paragraph of the Business Names Act. In order for a business name to meet the requirements of the Trade Marks Act for distinctive features, it must not describe the company's goods and services and it must have distinctive features as a distinguishing feature. As a starting point, the assessment must be based on the company's actual operations today, cf. the Supreme Court judgment on Pangea in HR-2016-1993-A, section 56.

Who can submit claims for administrative review?

The person submitting a claim for administrative review must have a legal interest in the case. This follows from Section 3-6 of the Business Names Act. The legal concept of legal interest must be interpreted in accordance with Section 39 of the Trade Marks Act and Section 1-3 of the Disputes Act.

When must requests for administrative review be submitted?

Claims for administrative review of a business name must be submitted within 3 years of the registration decision in the Business Register, see the Business Names Act section 3-6 first paragraph.

How much does it cost?

It costs NOK 4,000 to submit a claim for administrative review.

See regulations on payments

What must a demand for administrative review contain?

Pursuant to Section 3-6 second paragraph of the Business Names Act, a request for administrative review must contain:

  • name and address of the person making the claim
  • the company name that is required to be verified (with organization number)
  • on which grounds the claim is based
  • necessary documentation of conditions invoked in support of the claim

The Norwegian Patent Office will not request documentation to support the grounds. Nor will we give advice on how much is needed to consider the grounds as documented. If you need more individual and tactical advice, we recommend using a patent office, IPR adviser or another private actor who is an expert in the area.

If the claimant responds and submits documentation in the case, the Patent Office will assess whether the holder should be given a deadline to comment on the claimant's documentation.

What can the Patent Office try?

The Norwegian Patent and Trademark Office can examine whether the company name has been registered in violation of § 2-6 first paragraph.

For company registrations where a register notification has been sent to the Brønnøysund registers after 1 March 2023, the Patent Office can also try to change the company name:

  • is suitable for misleading according to § 2-3
  • contravenes the law, public order and morality according to § 2-5
  • is registered in bad faith according to section 2-6 second paragraph

How to file a complaint?

You must submit a complaint, or rather a demand for administrative review of a business name registration, in writing to the Norwegian Patent Board. The request must contain the name of the company (incl. organization number) that is requested to be verified. You must also state which rights you believe have been infringed - a company name or a trademark. We will send you an invoice for payment of the appeal fee.