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What’s the difference between a trade name and a company name?

A company name is an entity’s legal name as stated in the articles of association, for example ‘business BV’. The company name must be registered in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (BE) or in the Chamber of Commerce (NL). This official name can differ from the trade name under which the company trades. The first party to register a company name has an exclusive right to that name. You may use your company name as your trade name (and even your trademark), but you may also choose a completely different name as a trade name. If you operate in a variety of sectors, you might even choose different trade names for each of these sectors while still only having one official company name!