back to article Naming your company 101: Probably best not to have the word 'Oracle' anywhere near branding

Croydon biz Oracle101 has been ordered to change its name and pay Big Red £800 after the tech titan complained about the upstart's moniker. The UK-based firm, which is classified as "other service activities incidental to land transportation", registered its name on 9 October 2018. Almost two months later, the giant …

  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Lack of detail?

    I'm failing to see why Oracle101 is an "offending name" in this case. Is Oracle101 in a similar business to Oracle the database slinger? Is the offending company using branding that looks enough like Big Reds so that people may be confused by it?

    I'm not seeing any explanation in the article or the judgment as to why the judgement went the way it did (other than the obvious "no defence", but that should only matter if Oracle the database biz actually had a case.)

    1. LewisRage

      Re: Lack of detail?

      I don't think it matters if they didn't offer any defense does it?

      If Oracle101 had rocked up and made the same points you have then perhaps it would have gone differently, as it is the adjudicator isn't there to discover evidence for the decision, just to make the decision on the evidence presented, which none.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Lack of detail?

      Was this transport business going to have the mission statement "nobody likes us, we don't care" ?

      In which case you can see a clear overlap with the license-rights-enforcement-juggernaut from over the pond.

      1. 's water music

        Re: Lack of detail?

        Was this transport business going to have the mission statement "nobody likes us, we don't care" ?

        In which case you can see a clear overlap with the license-rights-enforcement-juggernaut from over the pond.

        Perhaps TCFKA Oracle101 have a fee scale which starts off based on freight weight and miles travelled but then starts randomly adding in per-spark plug and per-valve multipliers as well as clawing back driver wages from time to time

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Lack of detail?

          @'s water music - so true - I really wish I could upvote you repeatedly until my fingers got sore

    3. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Lack of detail?

      One could argue that Oracle101 is similar to Oracle 10.1 which is one of their products.

      I assume that potential customers of the Oracle database would be able to know the difference between the two though.

      1. deive

        Re: Lack of detail?

        The name Oracle has been used since or before 800BC and 101 has been in use for longer than the DB company.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge

          Re: Lack of detail?

          Wasn't the first branch office at Delphi?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Lack of detail?

        " assume that potential customers of the Oracle database would be able to know the difference between the two though."

        One is a business that provides a useful service and the other keeps demanding fees?

        1. Keith Oborn

          Re: Lack of detail?

          Just possibly the fact that Oracle HQ in Redwood Shores is just off the 101 freeway might have made them sit up and take notice.

          Of course, there is a counter-precedent in the UK. Oracle UK is on a business park on the eastern side of Reading, but they didn't seem to mind when the "new" (as it was then) shopping centre opened in town. Called "The Oracle".

          I guess a one man band truck company is an easier target that a major local council.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Lack of detail?

            The shopping centre was named after the Oracle Workhouse which was previously on the site from the 17th Century, so before the database slinger was founded.

            1. Forum McForumface

              Re: Lack of detail?

              So a clear lack of care for the well-being of any of their ‘customers’ and a lock-in policy?

              ...sorry, I’ve forgotten which of them I’m talking about.

    4. Just Enough

      Re: Lack of detail?

      Oracle make transportation management software. They are therefore in a similar market.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge


    What happened to the rule about similar names not mattering if it wasn't in the same sector?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      The ruling was unopposed, so I guess it was disregarded...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Weird, their UK offices are in Reading. One can only assume Oracle employees are too busy suing/auditing people to go shopping at the mall

    1. NightFox

      Re: Reading

      I think Oracle Corp are happy to ride on the back of the fact that many locals seem to think that they in some way support The Oracle, despite there being no connection as there's been an Oracle in Reading since the 1600s (don't think they had the Starbucks back then though).

  4. tiggity Silver badge


    Given the (not very good) reputation of Oracle, why would anyone want to risk confusion with them?

    More seriously, as John Brown (no body) said, was it actually in an area where potential for confusion with Oracle?

    Otherwise, Oracle is a legit name to use, given taht oracles in Greek mythology pre date the yacht financing company by several millenia

    1. Tom 7

      Re: Why?

      Its a bit like calling yourself a Data Analcyst.

    2. Mpeler

      'orrible, simply 'orrible

      Larry, Larry, quite contrary,

      How does your empire grow?

      With IP "rights" and patent fights,

      and lawyers all in a row.

  5. Nik 2


    But of you don't file a defence, you're not opposing the application.

    Previous commentards may be right [no, really - ed] that the name is legit, but if you don't turn up to court to say so then you're going to lose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unopposed

      Why should it even go to court? This just furthers the modern rational that anyone can harm anyone who can't afford lawyers.

      BTW, "Nik 2" reminds me a lot of "Nike".... now get to court, else you're guilty!

      For a similar story,

      1. asdf

        Re: Unopposed

        >Why should it even go to court?

        Wait I know this one. Because lawyers write the laws (at least here in the States most people in Congress have law degrees) and billable hours are the name of the game.

      2. Morrie Wyatt

        Re: Unopposed

        Nah. Nothing like Nike.

        "Klaatu... verata... Nik 2"

        (I'm the one with the saw arm covered in Ash.)

    2. Kiwi

      Re: Unopposed

      But of you don't file a defence, you're not opposing the application.

      Surely they have to prove that he was in the wrong though?

      1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

        Re: Unopposed

        Yes, IF the director for Oracle101 had turned up (or written in) to file a defence then Oracle would have had to show that there was a likelihood of confusion. But as said already, if you don't turn up to the hearing (or in some sorts of tribunals, provide a written response) then you will lose simply by the fact of not having opposed the complaint.

        Unless the director of Oracle101 had some valid excuse (there aren't many) for not attending or responding then it's an expensive reminder not to ignore such correspondence.

  6. Paul Herber Silver badge

    If I were naming a new company I would ask for advice from, ah, wait ... can't we use the name Delphi either?

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      @Paul_Herber be careful of trying to make Sage pronouncements.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      I'd ask my butler, Jeeves.

    3. bpfh

      If you need advice...

      ... Page the Oracle...

  7. Korev Silver badge

    If such a change isn't made, then the adjudicator, who was in this case Susan Eaves, will determine a new company name.

    That sounds like a fun job... A virtual beer for the commentard who suggests the best -->

    1. Kevin Johnston

      How about GoVia, from what I understand there may be a company of that name but they do not provide transport services


    2. Paul Herber Silver badge

      COracle Transport Services

      1. MarkB

        Pipped to a Coracle comment


      2. SolidSquid

        After the traditional lake/river boat I take it? A nice reference to the old canal systems which were commonly used for transportation?

    3. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Or even Elcaro Transport Services.

      1. Aitor 1


        Elcaro means "the expensive" in spanish...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Elcaro

          Oops. Wrong company name changed.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Susan Eaves. A virtual beer.

      Sounds like she might enjoy a night on the tiles.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New name: Orrible101 ?

    6. The Nazz

      FUOracle ?

  8. don't you hate it when you lose your account

    New name


    Make mine a Guinness

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: New name

      And now I have to change my password. Is Or4cle allowable?

      1. bpfh

        Re: New name


  9. Chris G

    @ Korev

    Given today's weather here I will suggest

    'Scrying in the rain, for musical accompaniment look for Crying in the rain by my old friend Guru Josh.

  10. Bibbit

    I take it "Larry Ellison Sucks Haulage" was also in breach of the rules?

    1. The Pi Man

      I was thinking much the same!

  11. 142

    > If such a change isn't made, then the adjudicator, who was in this case Susan Eaves, will determine a new company name.

    Section 73(4) of the Companies Act...

    Do any business/trademark lawyers here have any examples of what names adjudicators have chosen when it's gotten this far?

    I wasn't having luck finding any on Google.

    1. NightFox

      It's done by computer - they have a system that comes up with a random verb loosely related to the company's line of business and adds "a" or "ia" to the end of it.

      Any company name you seeing ending in such has previously fallen foul of the Companies Act.

      They also do something similar for car names.

      Fact. Maybe :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's done by computer

        That would explain Consignia, I guess...?

        (Or Insignia, if retro-futuristic bathroom smelly stuff is your thing...?)

        (Or... you fill in the blanks, it's Monday and I haven't had enough coffee...!!)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The alternative algorithm removes vowels near the end, so you get grindr, scribl, wibbl etc.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Yes, here’s one for Siemens Electrical Co Limited who are not in any way related to the German technology company.

      It was changed to 11363896 LTD which is their company number.

  12. GrapeBunch

    Hell hath no fury

    Like an victim of a April Fo0l's prank ^H*n bureaucrat spurned.

    Returning to the fantasy: If the putative company anywhere in its company documents has the representation that it is a transportation company, there is no case to answer. The data services corp's application would then be without merit. Or perhaps the Reading roadrunner is laughing in his beer, already having garnered more than 800 quid's worth of publicity ...

    I must congratulate El Reg for this story. It combines the shenanigans of a much-reviled in these fora fixture, with a contemporary theme: Brits have decided at great expense to scorn the assistance of arbitrary Euro bureaucrats, yet here in this masterpiece of invention, the Brit bureaucrat has outdone any Brussels prout. Sic transit gloria.

    1. TheProf

      Re: Hell hath no fury

      "having garnered more than 800 quid's worth of publicity "

      A pity the £800 of publicity isn't going to do the renamed company any good. Unless it's called 'The Company Formerly Known As Oracle101' and even then I think the estate of a dead but litigious pop star may have something to say on the matter.

      1. JerseyDaveC

        Re: Hell hath no fury

        Reminds me of when "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" was launched: the advertising rules prevented the makers from advertising on some media (radio was one, I think) because it wasn't butter but had the word "butter" in the name, even though the name made clear they weren't trying to pretend what it was (or wasn't).

        1. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: Hell hath no fury

          Personally speaking, I can't believe anyone can't believe the axle grease-based spread called "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" is not butter. I mean, they even say loudly and proudly that it's made with buttermilk. That's the left-over stuff you throw away after you have made butter out of milk, and thus not at all a likely candidate for imparting a butter-like taste. You might as well say something is made with wood from an apple tree for a cider-like taste.

          Mine is the one with the real butter in the pocket.

          1. Mpeler
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Hell hath no fury

            Butter face...

            Almost, but not completely unlike butter. Share and enjoy...

            Paris... because...

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wondered if it was an off-the-shelf company pre-registered by someone else on the principle of choose a random word and add something to it. The agents registering them don't ncessarily do sanity checking. When I went freelance one of the the off-the-shelf names I was offered was Ingress something or other. I thought that as I didn't do Ingres work it might confuse potential clients and if I did do Ingres work it would probably get me into trouble. I passed on that one.

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Greedy Larry's

    Does that mean I have to think of another name for the "all you can eat" Diner that I want to open in Reading?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mpeler

      Re: Greedy Larry's

      Happy Greeder?

  15. VikiAi


    I guess they didn't foresee that outcome!

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