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Part 7 of the Overseas Companies Regulations 2009 sets out a trading disclosures regime for overseas companies. The rules are very similar to those which apply to UK companies, but present a slightly different set of challenges as far as compliance is concerned.
The rationale for the requirement that companies disclose certain corporate details at their premises and on their letters, emails and websites is that third parties dealing with companies should know with whom they are doing business. Armed with the company's name and number, they can, for example, obtain its latest accounts from Companies House and make an informed assessment of its financial health.
Plainly, this rationale applies whether the companies with whom third parties are doing business are incorporated in the UK or overseas, so it makes perfect sense for the domestic rules, contained in the Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008, to be supplemented by a similar set of rules applicable to overseas companies.
The rules in Part 7 of the Overseas Companies Regulations 2009 require the overseas company's name to be displayed at certain locations, and for its name and other corporate details to be included on certain documents (whether in hard copy or in electronic form) and on its websites.
Anyone who has grappled with the UK regime will be aware that the rules are not always as easy to comply with as they may sound. Part 7, too, contains a number of potential difficulties. For example:
A failure to comply with the disclosure requirements "without reasonable excuse" constitutes an offence on the part of the company and every officer in default.
The important words here are, of course, "without reasonable excuse". Notwithstanding the grey areas which are built into Part 7, an overseas company which does its best to make sense of its obligations is unlikely to run into any problems with the authorities.
A concise account of UK trade marks law within the European and international context.