REFORM AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAW PROTECTING INTERESTS IN TRADING NAMES
The Company Law Review Steering Group have not proposed an extensive revision of the existing statutory system regulating the adoption of company names. In its Final Report, the Steering Group expressed the view that, for the most part, the existing system of controls works well.1 Of course, the statutory system of controls is but a small part of the law regulating the adoption and use of names by companies. Indeed this essay is concerned mainly with the common law and, in particular, the proper role, and future development, of the tort of passing off as it applies to protecting interests in trading names. The law of passing off has, over the past five years or so, been undergoing somewhat of a transformation and this essay charts and explains a shift in the interests that are recognised and protected by the tort. The existing statutory system of controls on the adoption of company names and the proposed revisions to this system are thus considered against the background of the development of the common law.