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mTech mTech is offline
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Business Name: Legal Rights!! HELP!

Basically, I have taken the big step to start a business. However, having set a name in my head for my business and without really revising it, I found that there is actually a "company" in Oman that is "trading" under the same name.

I have not yet registered the name and it would appear this other "company" hasn't registered their name either (Hence the "").

This belief that the other company has not registered is from the fact that 1) they only have a blog as their "website" when they seem to big a relatively big operation and 2) on their blog, twitter or Facebook page they have no reference to their business legalities e.g. Normally you can find a "copyright [date and maybe name]" sentence at the bottom of a companies website...

I am just so confused..

Can you please answer these question (as well as your own opinion etc.):
1)How would I find out if this company is registered or not? - I'm in the UK, they are in Oman...
2)Does registering a company name give you automatic IP protection on the name?
3) If I was to find out this company is not registered, can I register in the UK as, say, a limited company/ LLP etc. and take legal actions to get them to change their name?- Although not very moral :L

Any other information would be GREAT!!
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mTech mTech is offline
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Does anyone have any ideas?
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mTech mTech is offline
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What would you all do if you were in my situation?
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mTech mTech is offline
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How can someone go about checking world wide trademarks/ copyrights and other IP on names and business "stuff"? Does Businesslink's trademark checker only cover the uk? This is what i have always though, am i wrong?
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amac's Avatar amac amac is offline
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Companies House is a good place to start checking names. Also, try Intellectual Property Office and search for trademarks and other name related information.
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James Smith's Avatar James Smith James Smith is offline
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1)How would I find out if this company is registered or not? - I'm in the UK, they are in Oman...

Its not likely you would get than answer from a UK website.

2)Does registering a company name give you automatic IP protection on the name?

No.

3) If I was to find out this company is not registered, can I register in the UK as, say, a limited company/ LLP etc. and take legal actions to get them to change their name?- Although not very moral :L

No.

Generally you are barking up the wrong forest!

Firstly, what has an Oman blog got to do with your business idea? Are you competing? If so, if they are using the brand then they probably have prior rights to it. If not, then it probably doesn't really matter. Lots of business have the same or similiar names but do not compete. Are you really confused walking into an upmarket Macdonalds hotel to think it might be something to do with a down market burger bar?

Registering a limited company with a certain name gives precious few rights, other than a "date stamp" of when it was formed which can be helpful in settling a "who came first" type argument. Most limited companies actually use a different trading name(s) (many will have several trading names) to the name on the legal structure.

Actively TRADING with a trading name is where rights are accrued, legal entity is not important. Moreover what happens in the UK is not something you can normally impose on someone in a different location.

So in short, dont panic. Just find out what they do, if its different dont worry, and dont rush to form a limited company. They are generally unsuitable for start-ups.

I hope that helps.

Regards,
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mTech mTech is offline
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Thanks for your replies Amac and James Smith, much appreciated!
In reply to you James, yes, we will be competing. Basically i want to start a jewellery/clothing line under, say, the name "x". But in Omen, there is a company who already trades under the name "x" but don't have a formal website, just a blog and don't seem to be any other retail websites. However, the big thing here is that it would seem that the company in Omen is selling women's clothing and no jewellery... I want to start with men/ unisex clothing and jewellery and then maybe move into the female clothing market at a later date. I am 16 and have made it my aim for the next few years to at least get something started with the clothing line.
What I am confused about is what would be the best approach to this? Should i start the company under the same name- if so, would I be breaking any IP or other laws? Should I give up on the name and think of another? and also, if they aren't actually a registered company and still trading, am i able to register and trade under the "x" name?
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mTech mTech is offline
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I have just realised James Smith that you have already answered some of the questions in my last post. I didn't finish reading your 1st post.
Why is a Limited company not a suitable for a start-up? What would be the best legal structure?
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mTech mTech is offline
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Ahh. After some deeper research, it would seem that this company based in Shatti is actually a boutique that would seem to sell/ retail other clothing lines and not actually have a clothing line under the name "x".
Does this change the situation?
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Micaela106 Micaela106 is offline
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James Smith's Avatar James Smith James Smith is offline
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Its unlikely that a UK business would be competing with a boutique in Shatti so you probably wont be any issues. Forming a limited company is irrelevant as far as IP is concerned.

In terms of suitability, a limited company is for a decent size business. Usually full time and earning mroe than £30,000 in profits. If you form one you are looking at accounting costs of around £1000 just to file all your year end accounts, this is not something you can do yourself. Most start-ups begin very simply as a sole trader, and move to a limited company late on if they work out. You say you are only 16, so I imagine (or at lest hope) you are in school or studying and this will only be a part time thing.

I hope that helps
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mTech mTech is offline
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Yes, that has helped immensely. More than you can actually imagine.
I know I am going into this a bit like a headless chicken but I know i have the passion and drive to make this work. My school actually has the machinery i would need to produce the jewellery and I have been in close contact with a clothing manufacturer for a little while now. So i just have to chose which to start with- probably the jewellery line.
However, if I start as a sole trader, how would I go about getting other people involved to produce, say, designs or friends to promote the company? I was thinking, before your invaluable input, that I would "simply" start a Ltd company and employ my friends, who are each gifted in a certain area, and have them on the books actually working for my company?
Should i consider a sort of volunteer set-up and, if so, how would i go about doing this?
A lot of question, I know, but you seem to know what your talking about.
And again, thank you for you previous information
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James Smith's Avatar James Smith James Smith is offline
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If you are school and making jewellery, then this should almost certainly be a sole trader. This means you run the business.

If you want to employ your friends, then this is fine. A sole trader can have employees, or potentially you can go into partnership with your friends so you each get a share of the profits of the business.

The tax man is not going to be interested in having this formally registered unless:
1. you make profits of more than £8,105 in the year
2. You pay each of your friends more than £100 or so a week as employees.

So the point is all your need do is decide how to arrange yourself and get making and selling, and see what happens. If it goes really well and you earn more than the amounts above THEN you need to think about doing things formally with HMRC. For now you just test it out and see what happens. Good or bad, its all experience so dont over complicated it with business structures right now, just agree with your friends who does what, and what the split of the proceeds will be and WRITE IT DOWN! Ie if you are paying them for their time, or for a share of the profits. Set a time limit of (say) 6 weeks. Go do it, and then review how things are going. Then once you have learnt about what you can/cant do as a team then think again about who is in, who is out (some will get bored quickly) and then set a new agreement between you for the next phase.

Just keep it simple and have fun!

Regards,
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James Smith's Avatar James Smith James Smith is offline
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Sorry also to add what I would do here is firstly work out what sells and at what price, this is best done face to face with potential customers. ie try doing a school fete or some kind of local show or exhibition. If you have a local art group that covers jewellery they might (depending on what you are making!) let you show your work at their exhibitions etc and give practical help as to how to price etc. It can be soul destroying, but you have to find where your potential customers go and what they will buy and at what price. Its hard!
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mTech mTech is offline
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So are you saying just trade without registering the business? Is that strictly legal?
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intellectual property, lawyer/solicitor, legal, naming a business, registering a company

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