Should the name of an association be protected?

Verified 26 April 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

In principle, the protection of the name of an association is not necessary even when the name is original (automatic protection). However, associations with an economic activity may register the name as a trademark.

It is not mandatory to protect the name or acronym of an association because it is automatically protected by a right of use for the activity declared in the prefecture.

An association may use a name which is neither protected nor original, provided that it does not create a risk of confusion with the name of another natural person or morality.

In addition, the association which has an original name has an exclusive right to that name.

The association may refer the case to the judge in case of use of its name by another body.

The originality of a name is assessed on a case-by-case basis by the judge.

A name that is too common, too commonplace, or that has elements in the public domain is not an original name. Neither is a purely generic or descriptive name.

If the association has an economic activity and its name is the one under which it markets its goods or services, it may protect it by registering them as a protected trade mark with the Inpi: titleContent. This request is made online:

Online trademark filing

This filing concerns mainly for-profit associations. It is carried out online on the website of theInpi: titleContent.

Registration of the trade mark gives the association the possibility to bring an action before the court if another association or legal person uses the same name.