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Section 12 of Company Act 2013 and Entitlement of Company to Use Its Old Name

In the corporate landscape, the decision to change a company's name can stem from various strategic, branding, or legal considerations. However, the question of whether a company is entitled to use its old name for a certain period after changing its name is one that requires careful legal scrutiny. This issue was recently settled by the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in a case that sheds light on the interplay between company law and the rights of corporate entities.

In a recent case before the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, the defendant, formerly known as 'Zanofi Pharmaceutical Private Limited,' sought to change its corporate name to 'Naltisam Pharmaceutical Private Limited.' The Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, duly issued a certificate approving the name change. However, a note appended to the certificate required the defendant to display its earlier name for a period of two years in accordance with Section 12 of the Companies Act, 2013.


The crux of the issue before the court was whether the defendant was entitled to display its old name for two years, as mandated by the Companies Act. The court, in its wisdom, answered this question in the negative, providing crucial insights into the legal framework governing corporate name changes.

The court's reasoning hinged on the distinction between the court's power to direct a party to change its corporate name and the voluntary act of changing the name. It noted that the court's authority to mandate a change of corporate name operates in a different realm than that of a voluntary name change initiated by the company itself. As such, the court implied that it would not be bound by the provisions of the Companies Act, which pertain to situations triggered by voluntary name changes.

By disentangling the court's power from the statutory provisions governing voluntary name changes, the court affirmed its authority to make independent determinations regarding corporate name changes in the context of legal proceedings. It underscored the principle that the court's directives in such matters are guided by legal principles and equitable considerations rather than statutory mandates.

Consequently, the court ruled that the defendant was not entitled to display its old name for the prescribed period of two years. Instead, it directed the defendant to exclusively use its new name, 'Naltisam Pharmaceutical Private Limited,' in all its dealings, promotional materials, and online and physical media.

This ruling by the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi serves as a significant precedent in clarifying the rights and obligations of companies undergoing name changes. It highlights the court's discretion in adjudicating corporate name change matters and reinforces the principle that legal directives in such cases are rooted in judicial discretion and equitable considerations rather than statutory mandates alone.

Case Title: Sanofi and another Vs Zanofi Pharmaceutical Pvt. Ltd.
Order Date: 23.02.2024
Case No. CS(COMM) 881/2023
Neutral Citation:N.A
Name of Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Sanjeev Narula,HJ

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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