A bizarre incident occurred lately when the Corporate Affairs Commission wrote a letter to a company(name withheld) ordering the company to change its name after discovering that its registered name is similar to a company that was registered as far back as 1992.

In the letter, the Corporate Affairs Commission directed the affected company to change its name within six weeks of receiving the letter in accordance  with Section 30(1) of the Company Allied Matters Act, 2020 which provides that:

Section 30(1)-

“1. If a company, through inadvertence or otherwise, on its first registration on its registration by a new name, is registered under a name identical with that by which to deceive, the first-mentioned company may, with the approval of the commission , change its name within six weeks from the date of the direction or such longer period as the Commission  may allow”

It is to be noted that Section 30(4) of the CAMA 2020 has vested on the Corporate Affairs Commission, the power to require a company to change its name if it discovers that such a name conflicts with an existing trademark or registered business name. The Section provides that:

“Nothing  in this act precludes the Commission from requiring a company to change its name if it discovers that such a name conflicts with  an existing trademark or business name registered in Nigeria prior to the registration of the company and the consent  of the owner of the trademark or business name was not obtained.”

A cursory look at the above provisions implies that in the event where a company registers a name that is similar to an existing registered business name, the CAC after discovering such anomaly can give directives to the affected company to change its name within six weeks of receiving the directives and failure to comply will attract necessary sanctions that may be taken by the CAC.

Written By Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq

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