Print   

LAW ON FIRM NAMES, 1 July 1999, No.VIII-1286 (as amended by 26 March 2002 No. IX-810) (official translation)

FIRST CHAPTER. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Scope of the Law

This Law shall regulate the registration and removal of firm names from the Firm Names Register, legal protection of firm names and maintaining of the Firm Names Register.

Article 2. Definitions

As used in this Law:

1. “Firm” means an enterprise of any type, a public institution, a credit union or other credit institution.

2. “Unit of the firm” means a branch or representative office of an enterprise of any type, a branch or representative office of a public institution, credit union or other credit institution, a branch or representative office of a foreign firm, a branch or representative office of foreign bank.

3. “Firm name” means a name of the firm or unit of the firm which identifies the firm or a unit of the firm and allows to distinguish it from other firms and units of firms.

4. “Symbolic name” means a word or word-combination which is used figuratively as an agreed verbal sign, as well as letters or numerals which may not be understood as words, however, they are understood as a firm name and do not mislead the public.

5. “Applicant” means a natural person, enterprise which does not possess a legal person status, legal person or their group who have filed an application for registration of a firm name.

6. “Application” means a totality of documents which must be submitted by an applicant.

7. “Registers of Firms” means state registers which record all types of enterprises, public institutions, credit unions and other credit institutions.

Article 3. Duty to Register a Firm Name

1. All the firms and their units (hereinafter referred to as firms) established under laws of the Republic of Lithuania must register firm names in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law, except for the case specified in paragraph 2 of this Article.

2. The firm shall need not register its name in accordance with the procedure established by this Law when a firm name is made up of the words or their abbreviations identifying the type of the firm, and the surname (surnames) of the founder, if such forming of firm names is provided for by legal acts.

3. The firm which desires to change a firm name, must register a new firm name in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law.

4. Change of that part of the firm name where only the words or their abbreviations identifying the type of the firm are being changed, must be registered in accordance with the procedure established in Article 17.

5. A firm name shall be inseparable from the firm. If the firm or information about the changed firm name or the change of a part of the firm name are not recorded in registers of firms, registration of a firm name, information about the changed firm name or a part of the firm name shall cease to have effect.

SECOND CHAPTER. REQUIREMENTS FOR A FIRM NAME AND ITS PROTECTION

Article 4. Requirements for a Firm Name

1. A firm name must be made up of the words or their abbreviations identifying the type of the firm and a symbolic name, and (or) the words or their abbreviations identifying the type of the firm and the name in a direct meaning.

2. A firm name must be made up in compliance with the norms of the standard Lithuanian language.

3. A firm name must correspond to the requirements of the laws and legal acts which regulate activities of the types of individual firms.

4. A firm name must not contradict public interests, principles of morality and humanity.

5. A symbolic name contained in a firm name may not be made up of a common word (words) identifying only a direct type of activities or a type of goods (services) provided. A name in a direct meaning may not be made up only of a word (words) identifying only a direct type of activities or a type of goods (services) provided, or only of a place-name, or only of another word (words) which does not have a distinguishing feature.

6. The official name or traditional (abbreviated) name of the Republic of Lithuania may be used in a firm name according to the procedure established by the Government.

Article 5. Firm Names which are not Registrable

1. A firm name shall not be registered:

1) if it coincides with the firm names which have been already registered or have been filed for registration, or is confusingly similar to them;

2) if the surname or pseudonym of another person is used in a firm name without consent of that person or his successors in title;

3) if it coincides with the names of states, international organisations or abbreviations thereof, or is confusingly similar to them, when there is no consent of the competent authorities of those states or international organisations;

4) if it may mislead the public because of the names of types of two or more firms contained in the firm name;

5) if it may mislead the public as to the seat (address) of the firm, sphere of activities, because of identity with the firm names, trade and service names of foreign companies which are established on the market and are known to the Lithuanian public, or because of confusing similarity to them;

6) if it may mislead the public because of identity of a firm name with the trade and service names filed for registration in the Republic of Lithuania prior to registration of such firm name, already registered or regarded to be widely known, or because of confusing similarity to them;

7) if it uses the title of the literary or artistic work of another person, where the title is distinctive, and therefore infringes the copyright to such literary, scientific or artistic work, when there is no consent of the author or his successor in title.

Article 6. Exclusive Right to a Firm Name

1. The exclusive right to a firm name shall mean that no one else but the firm may use an identical firm name or the firm name which is confusingly similar to it. It shall not be regarded as an infringement of the exclusive right to a firm name if the firm gives written permission to use its firm name with distinctive words or a part of the firm name in the activities of another firm. A firm name shall be the industrial property of the firm.

2. The exclusive right to a firm name shall be protected in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Law and other legal acts.

3. The exclusive right to a firm name shall be acquired upon registration of the firm and shall be valid until its removal from the register, except in the cases provided for in paragraph 4 of this Article.

4. The firm shall lose the exclusive right to a firm name if:

1) registration of a firm name shall invalidated by court judgement;

2) the firm changes a firm name;

3) upon reorganisation of the firm, the exclusive rights are not transferred to the firms which continue the business after the reorganisation, except for the cases provided for in Article 17 of this Law.

5. When the firm loses the exclusive right to a firm name, another firm may chose the same or similar firm name a year from the date of loss of the exclusive right. The day of loss of the exclusive right shall be the day when:

1) court judgement invalidating registration of a firm name becomes effective;

2) the changed firm name is recorded in registers of firms;

3) the firm is removed from the registers of firms.

Article 7. Inheritance, Pledge, Sale or other Transference of the Exclusive Right to a Firm Name

The exclusive right to a firm name may be inherited, pledged, sold or otherwise transferred only together with the firm.

THIRD CHAPTER. FIRM NAMES REGISTER AND REGISTRATION OF A FIRM NAME

Article 8. Firm Names Register

1. The Firm Names Register shall be a State register. An institution authorised by the Government shall keep the Firm Names Register (hereinafter referred to as the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency).

2. The Government shall establish the procedure for collection, processing, storage and use of documents and information related to firm names.

Article 9. Firm Names Register Information

The following information shall be registered and collected in the Firm Names Register:

1) the firm name;

2) the firm’s seat address;

3) the application number and filing date of the application;

4) the registration date of the firm name;

5) the number of the issued firm name certificate and the date of issuance;

6) the date and grounds for removal of the firm from the register;

7) the date of information changes.

2. Natural and legal persons shall have the right to use the Firm Names Register information in accordance with the procedure established by the Government.

Article 10.  Links with other Register Keeping Institutions

1. The Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall, in a manner prescribed by the Government, maintain mutual links (furnish and receive information) with other institutions keeping state registers.

2. The Firms Register Keeping Agency must, within 10 days after removal of the firm from the register, inform the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency about this fact.

Article 11.  Filing an Application for Registration of a Firm Name

1. An applicant shall file an application for registration of a firm name with the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency. A representative of the applicant may file an application on behalf of the applicant.

2. Only one application shall be filed for registration of one firm name.

3. An application must be written in the state language.

4. An application for registration of a firm name shall consist of the following:

1) a request for registration of a firm name. The request shall contain the applicant’s name and surname or the name (if the applicant is a legal person), firm name, type of the firm, firm’s seat address, name and surname of the applicant’s representative (if there is such), contact address, telephone number (if indicated). The request must be signed by the applicant or his representative;

2) the document confirming payment of the fixed fee;

3) the applicant’s authorisation to the person, if the application is filed by the authorised person;

4) consent to permit the use of part of the firm name belonging to another firm of the Republic of Lithuania or foreign firm in the firm name, if such part of the firm name belonging to another firm of the Republic of Lithuania or foreign name is used in the firm name;

5) a notarised copy of the firm’s registration certificate, if a new firm name is chosen;

6) a notarised copy of the registration certificate of the firm of the Republic of Lithuania, if the applicant is a firm;

7) a copy of the registration certificate of a foreign firm or the document corresponding thereto, legalised in a prescribed manner, and the translation of the document, attested in a prescribed manner, if the applicant is a foreign firm;

8) consent of the person or his successor in title, if the firm name contains the surname or pseudonym of another person;

9) consent of the author or his successor in title, if the firm name contains the title of a literary, scientific or artistic work of another person;

10) consent of the competent authorities of the states, international organisations, if the firm name contains the names of those states, international organisations or their abbreviations;

11) permit issued in the manner prescribed by the Government to use the official or traditional (abbreviated) name of the Republic of Lithuania in a firm name, if such name is used in the firm name.

Article 12.  Filing Date of an Application for a Firm Name

1. The filing date of an application shall be the date on which the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency receives the documents listed in Article 11 of this Law.

2. The applicant shall have the priority right to the chosen firm name due to the filing date of an application.

Article 13.  Examination of an Application for Registration of a Firm Name, and of a Firm Name

1. The Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall, within three days after receipt of the application for registration of a firm name, carry out examination of the application, in the course whereof it shall verify if all the documents specified in Article 11 of this Law have been submitted, if they are properly executed.

2. The Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall deem an application filed and shall assign it a filing date and number if all the documents specified in Article 11 of this Law have been submitted and executed.

3. Upon having established that not all the documents specified in Article 11 of this Law had been submitted or they had not been properly executed, the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall, not later than within 3 working days after the end of the period of time specified in paragraph 1 of this Article, inform in writing the applicant or his representative about this fact. If the application is not altered within 15 days of sending of such notice, the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall deem the application as not to have been filed and shall inform in writing the applicant or his representative about this fact.

4. Upon having carried out examination of the application for registration of a firm name, examination of the firm name shall, within 20 days after assignment of the filing date of the application, be carried out to verify if the firm name corresponds to the requirements laid down in Articles 4 and 5 of this Law.

5. By decision of the head of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency, this period of time may be extended, but not longer that for a period of 30 days, if conclusions of appropriate institutions or additional information is necessary to carry out examination of a firm name. The applicant or his representative must be informed about this fact in writing.

6. If the firm name does not correspond to the requirements laid down in Article 4 of this Law or in the presence of at least one provision specified in Article 5 of this Law, the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall adopt a decision not to register a firm name. The decision specifying the grounds for refusal to register a firm name, shall be sent to the applicant or his representative within 3 working days of its adoption.

Article 14.  Complaint against Refusal to Register a Firm Name

1. Upon having received the decision not to register a firm name, the applicant shall, within 30 days of sending of the decision, have the right to complain in writing against this decision to the head of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency.

2. The head of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency must, within 10 days of receipt of the complaint, must consider the complaint and to adopt one of the following decisions:

1) to meet the complaint and to reverse the decision not to register a firm name, and to transfer it for reconsideration;

2) to refuse to meet the complaint and to uphold the decision not to register a firm name.

3. The applicant who is not satisfied with the decision of the head of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency, shall have the right within 30 days of the adoption of the decision to appeal against it to the court in the manner prescribed by law.

Article 15.  Firm Name Registration and Firm Name Certificate

1. Upon adoption of the decision to register a firm name, the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall enter such name into the Firm Names Register and shall issue a firm name certificate to the applicant. The form of a certificate shall be established by the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency. If the applicant does not pick the firm name certificate within 30 days of issuance of the firm name certificate, the said certificate shall be sent to him by post.

2. The firm name certificate shall be a legal document which confirms the registration of a firm name.

3. If the firm loses a firm name certificate, a copy of such certificate shall be issued to it.

4. The fact of the firm name registration shall be announced in an official publication of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency.

5. Temporary legal protection of a firm name shall be provided starting from the firm name registration until registration of the firm or information regarding change of the firm name, but not longer than for the period of 12 months of the firm name registration.

6. Upon expiry of the period of time provided for in paragraph 5 of this Article, temporary legal protection of the firm name shall become invalid.

Article 16.  Removal of a Firm Name from the Firm Names Register

1. A firm name shall be removed from the Firm Names Register if:

1) registration of a firm name is invalidated by court judgement;

2) the firm is removed from registers of firms in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts;

3) the firm has not been registered in registers of firms within 12 months of the registration of a firm name;

4) the firm changes a firm name;

5) reorganised firms do not assume exclusive rights to a firm name.

2. The Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall remove a firm name from the Firm Names Register upon having received one of the following documents:

1) effective court judgement invalidating a firm name;

2) a notification of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency regarding the removal of a firm name from the Firm Names Register ;

3) a certificate of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency submitted by the interested person, testifying that the firm or information about the changed firm name has not, within 12 months of the registration of a firm name, been registered in registers of firms.

3. Removal of a firm name from the Firm Names Register shall be announced in the official publication of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency.

Article 17.  Registration of the Change of a Part of a Firm Name

1. The firm in whose name only the words denoting the type of the firm or their abbreviations are changed, must, within 30 days of adoption of the decision to change a type of the firm, present to the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency the following documents:

1) a request to change the words denoting the type of the firm or their abbreviations in a firm name;

2) documents substantiating the change requested;

3) an original or copy of the firm name certificate;

4) the document confirming payment of the fixed fee.

2. The Firm Names Register Keeping Agency shall within 10 working days verify whether all the documents specified in paragraph 12 of this Article have been submitted, whether they are properly executed, and shall register changed information about the type of the firm in the Firm Names Register, as well as issue a new firm name certificate.

3. Registration of the change of a part of the firm name shall be announced in the official publication of the Firm Names Register Keeping Agency.

FOURTH CHAPTER. FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 18.  Disputes about a Firm Name

Disputes over declaration of the registration of a firm name invalid, infringements of the priority right to a firm name and exclusive rights to a firm name shall be settled by county courts.

Article 19. International Treaties

If international treaties ratified by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania establish requirements other than those in this Law, the requirements of such international treaties shall apply.

Article 20. Provisions of the Transitional Period

1. Firms registered prior to coming into force of this Law in accordance with the procedure established by legal acts, shall retain the exclusive rights to firm names and shall not have to reregister firm names according to the procedure laid down by this Law.

2. In case of a dispute over the priority right to retain the exclusive right to a firm name between the firms registered prior to 1 March 1993, or between these firms and the firms registered after 1 March 1993, the priority right to retain the exclusive right to a firm name shall have the firm which was the first registered in registers of firms.

3. Applications for firm names filed prior to coming into force of this Law, shall be registered on the basis of 31 October 1991 Government Resolution No. 449 on Registration of Firm Names.

Article 21.  Coming into Force of the Law

1. The Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Firm Names shall come into force on 1 January 2000.

2. Paragraph 6 of Article 4 of the Law shall come into force from the day of publication of the Law.

Article 22.  Proposals to the Government

To propose to the Government to prepare legal acts related to enforcement of this Law prior to 1 September 1999.