Charity Commission will not force foundation to change name

But the regulator has given Thomson Reuters Foundation six months to resolve its differences with the Thomson Foundation

The Charity Commission has refused to use its powers to force journalism training charity the Thomson Reuters Foundation to change its name and thus avoid confusion with the Thomson Foundation.

The regulator has, however, given the charities six months to resolve the issue between themselves or it could step in and force a name change.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation, whose income in 2007 was just over £3.4m, changed its name from the Reuters Foundation in 2008 after its principal funder, the Reuters news agency, was bought by media group the Thomson Corporation and became part of Thomson Reuters.

The Thomson Corporation was founded by Roy Thomson, the first Baron Thomson of Fleet, who also founded the Thomson Foundation. Both charities provide media training in developing countries.

The Thomson Foundation, whose income in 2007 was nearly £1.7m, complained that the similarity in the charities' names was confusing its beneficiaries and funders.

But in a final decision made on 16 July, the commission decided that the names were not too alike and reflected the charities' shared Thomson family heritage.

The commission has asked the foundations to enter mediation and has given the TRF six months to provide it with evidence of "tangible steps" it has taken "to distance itself from Thomson Foundation in the field of journalism training".

The summary of the commission's decision, posted on its website last week, says the regulator is "is reluctant to use its powers in ways that interfere with proprietary or other human rights where this can be avoided by charities working together".

It adds, however, that if the issue has not been resolved within six months the commission will consider imposing a name change.

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