Boo!!! Let us shout! Scary story on company names giving, legal point of view

October the 31st, it is time to recollect a little legal scare on company names giving.  …

Let us shout! Boo!!!  

October the 31st, it is time to recollect a little legal scare on company names giving.

 Imagine company name like: “OFFICE  ACHÈVEMENT UKRAINE”, where three words in the row are spelled out, each of them consisting of more than 5 characters? Because it is the company name, all letters of it are capitalized. I would not believe it, but I was involved in signing contracts with company alike. As it turned out, after the march of 2012 there were collection of capitalized-named-companies between 2012 and 2015 in Ukraine.

Do not use all capital letter names

It might be sign of questionable taste, though: “Do not use all capital letter names unless the letters are individually pronounced”… Others should be uppercase and lowercase”.  (AP Stylebook 2002) For instance, E&Y, KPMG, SRX. So this company names’ fashion puzzled me then.

Companies’ capital letter names craze

 2012 -2015 in Ukraine

Was that a marketing plague? Or suddenly risen business name extravaganza? Or pandemic computer key-board failure? Could it be some sort of computer virus after all?

I doubt, as after 2013 we were dwarfed by events in the Crimea and the East of Ukraine and business community was in modest mood here to say the least, and less-likely inclined to attract attention, to experiment with marketing tricks. Nor computer failure hypothesis was applicable either – some information about companies in public registers was available in timid lower case letters, alongside with capitalized company names.

 We have your name in our hands


Intrigued, I promptly communicated with company lawyer asking “why”?  The answer was overwhelming – “We were told to … by official registrars when we applied for amending our registration data“. In fact, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine issued regulation № 368/5 dd. 05.03.2012, that required applying capital letters only when naming companies, whether in Cyrillic, or in Latin.

Ministry of Justice of Ukraine regulation dd. 05.03.2012,

used  to  require applying capital letters only to the names of companies,

Surely, company names are regulated in most jurisdictions. It is applicable to prohibited names and language requirements: transliteration, Permitted characters (as in the Companies Act 2006, UK ), etc. In general, however, there are no much Law limitation of entrepreneurial imagination on name creation, or freedom using their intellectual property (as company name is certainly is). Similar laws are applicable in Ukraine as well. That is why it was such a surprise seeing aforesaid Ministry of Justice regulation… the very (authorized) body dealing with law in Ukraine.  So we were surprised here for another couple of years, until it was amended by the end of 2014. In December 2014 the regulation was amended, and lower case letters were again permitted in names companies in Ukraine…

Some would say take it easy, do not be so formal. But lawyers are about formal things after all…

…The Happy End

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