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How to avoid legal issues when choosing a business name in Nigeria

How to avoid legal issues when choosing a business name in Nigeria


The business name of any business you want to come up with can be very tricky and if you are not careful, it will be the very end of the business. It could sound like fun coming up with a business name but you must be very careful so as to avoid legal issues when choosing a business name.

The name of your business may have been used in part or whole by another business and that could spell trouble for you.

To avoid legal issues when choosing a business name, you must be able to go through thorough processes and understand the dos and don’ts of the process.

Many people think that coming up with the name is the fun part, but I have got something for you. It is not what you think. A wrong name and you are done. There’s a lot of complicated business that goes on behind the scenes.

This article is about saving your ass from unnecessary litigation. You have to consider the following tips carefully so as avoid legal issues when choosing a business name.

  1. Be unique

There is nothing that removes most issues associated with the business name as uniqueness. You need to avoid duplication as much as you can. The thing is that the business that has registered the name you want to use effectively prohibits you from using it.

Furthermore, any name that is similar should also be avoided. Any name out there that sounds like what you are conceiving puts your business in jeopardy. Be unique in the choice of your business name.

  1. Respect trademarks

One of the ways to avoid legal issues when choosing a business name is to respect trademarks. Most companies trademark their slogans, taglines, and names. You have to understand that you are not supposed to infringe on that when choosing your own.

If you look at the slogans of companies in Nigeria, you will find out the uniqueness of their slogans. Even companies in the same sector don’t share slogans.

MTN has “Everywhere you go” slogan, GLO is the “Grandmasters of data” while Airtel is the “Smartphone Network”. There is respect for trademarks and you should do same to avoid litigation.

  1. Don’t step on your competitors

You will always have competition and many competitors. Try not to step on them with the way you name your business. There are many ways to piss them off with your business name. They might feel threatened if your business name gives you an unfair advantage over them and they could start coming after you before you have even started.

  1. Pick a name you can protect

There are names that are so vague that you will find it very difficult to protect. They are so broad that anybody can legally lay claim to it. You have to avoid such names that are so broad that you can protect them.

For instance, if you are making shoes in Nigeria and you call your company name “Nigerian Shoes”, you will find out that any other company making shoes in Nigeria could lay claim to that name. the results are better read than experienced.

If you streamline the name of the business to “GT Nigerian shoes”, you can legally protect it.

  1. Don’t limit yourself

One of the ways to avoid legal issues when choosing a business name is to avoid names that limit your existence as a corporate entity. You may start small today due to issues and you could make your name location bound. That would be a mistake.

For instance, if you start a fast food restaurant at Nsukka and you name it “Nsukka Delicious Foods”, you have would have effectively limited yourself and your chances of expanding into other towns without unnecessary paper works and legal issues.

You are advised to choose names that will have expansion potentials because the goal of every business is to expand and expansion is both in size and reach.

Entrepreneur Nigeria


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