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Published 5 September 2023
© Crown copyright 2023
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/company-names-tribunal-decision-faceapp-technology-limited/decision-on-faceapp-technology-limited
In the matter of application No. 4350
For a change of company name of registration No. 14418017
The company name FACEAPP TECHNOLOGY LIMITED has been registered since 13 October 2022 under number 14418017.
By an application filed on 26 May 2023, FACEAPP INC applied for a change of name of this registration under the provisions of section 69(1) of the Companies Act 2006 (the Act).
A copy of this application was sent to the primary respondent’s registered office on 12 June 2023, in accordance with rule 3(2) of the Company Names Adjudicator Rules 2008. The copy of the application was sent by Royal Mail “Special Delivery” service and also by standard mail. It was returned “no such address” and “addressee unknown”. On 15 June 2023, the Tribunal wrote to Erwei Wang to inform him that the applicant had requested that he be joined to the proceedings. The letters sent to Erwei Wang were returned “no such address”. No comments were received from Erwei Wang in relation to this request. On 24 July 2023, Erwei Wang was joined as a co-respondent. On 24 July 2023, the parties were advised that no defence had been received to the application and so the adjudicator may treat the application as not being opposed. The parties were granted a period of 14 days to request a hearing in relation to this matter, if they so wished. The letters sent to the primary respondent and co-respondent by standard mail were returned “no such address”. No request for a hearing was made.
The primary respondent did not file a defence within the one month period specified by the adjudicator under rule 3(3). Rule 3(4) states:
The primary respondent, before the end of that period, shall file a counter-statement on the appropriate form, otherwise the adjudicator may treat it as not opposing the application and may make an order under section 73(1).
Under the provisions of this rule, the adjudicator may exercise discretion so as to treat the respondent as opposing the application. In this case I can see no reason to exercise such discretion and, therefore, decline to do so.
As the primary respondent has not responded to the allegations made, it is treated as not opposing the application. Therefore, in accordance with section 73(1) of the Act I make the following order:
(a) FACEAPP TECHNOLOGY LIMITED shall change its name within one month of the date of this order to one that is not an offending name; [footnote 1]
(b) FACEAPP TECHNOLOGY LIMITED and Erwei Wang each shall:
(i) take such steps as are within their power to make, or facilitate the making, of that change;
(ii) not cause or permit any steps to be taken calculated to result in another company being registered with a name that is an offending name.
In accordance with s.73(3) of the Act, this order may be enforced in the same way as an order of the High Court or, in Scotland, the Court of Session.
In any event, if no such change is made within one month of the date of this order, I will determine a new company name as per section 73(4) of the Act and will give notice of that change under section 73(5) of the Act.
All respondents, including individual co-respondents, have a legal duty under Section 73(1)(b)(ii) of the Companies Act 2006 not to cause or permit any steps to be taken calculated to result in another company being registered with an offending name; this includes the current company. Non-compliance may result in an action being brought for contempt of court and may result in a custodial sentence.
The applicant is requesting its costs. In its form CNA1, the applicant states that it sent a letter to the respondent providing notice but that the letter could not be delivered and was returned prior to the filing of the CNA1. In the circumstances, an award of costs to the applicant is considered appropriate.
FACEAPP INC, having been successful, is entitled to a contribution towards its costs. I order FACEAPP TECHNOLOGY LIMITED and Erwei Wang, being jointly and severally liable, to pay FACEAPP INC costs on the following basis:
Fee for application: £400
Statement of case: £400
This sum is to be paid within seven days of the expiry of the appeal period or within seven days of the final determination of this case if any appeal against this decision is unsuccessful.
Any notice of appeal against this decision to order a change of name must be given within one month of the date of this order. Appeal is to the High Court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and to the Court of Session in Scotland.
The company adjudicator must be advised if an appeal is lodged, so that implementation of the order is suspended.
Dated 31 August 2023
Company Names Adjudicator
An “offending name” means a name that, by reason of its similarity to the name associated with the applicant in which he claims goodwill, would be likely to be the subject of a direction under section 67 (power of Secretary of State to direct change of name), or to give rise to a further application under section 69. ↩
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