A trading name is the name under which a commercial enterprise conducts its business. It concerns intangible commercial elements and may be different from the company name.
The right to a particular trading name belongs to the one who made the first visible, public and continuous use of it. In other words, the one who ensured that the name had national coverage. Owning the trademark rights to a particular name implies the right to prohibit third parties from using an identical or similar one which would create confusion with the trading name in question.
Under Article L.711-4 of the Intellectual Property Code, a name which infringues upon a recognized trading name throughout the given country cannot be adopted where the use of that name creates a risk of confusion in the public’s mind. The condition requiring that the trading name be known throughout the country reduces both the scope of the right as well as the ability for other parties to bring a claim against its use.