Legal Dictionary

trade name

Legal Definition of trade name


  1. The name by which an article, process, service, or the like is designated in trade
  2. A name given by a manufacturer to designate a proprietary article, sometimes having the status of a trademark or a copyrighted and patented proprietary name
  3. A style or a name of a business house acquired by purchase from a retiring firm or trader.

Alternative forms

Definition of trade name


trade name (plural trade names)

  1. A name used to identify a commercial product or service; may or may not be registered as a trademark.
  2. The name under which a business or firm operates.

Further reading

A trade name, also known as a trading name or a business name, is the name which a business trades under for commercial purposes, although its registered, legal name, used for contracts and other formal situations, may be another.

As an example, the company Panda Chemical Manufacturers, Inc. may use the more friendly name Panda Pharmaceuticals when it holds itself out to the public. In this example, Panda Pharmaceuticals is the trade name.

Historically, some segments of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry have misused the phrase trade name as being synonymous with product or brand name. This practice over the last decade seems to have lessened but still does persist.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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