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Choosing a Name


Continuing our blog series on “Things to think about when you are starting your own business” this blog is all about the name of your new company. Some of the points raised will be applicable to other types of organisations but unincorporated organisations do have more freedom of choice with regards names.

Companies House has lots of information regarding names of companies and what you can and cannot choose. You need to consider the following:

Same as names. The company name cannot be the same as another company.

However some words and symbols are counted as the “same as”.

Therefore certain punctuation marks, certain special characters (eg the plus symbol: + ), a word or character that’s similar in appearance or meaning to another from the existing name, and a word or character commonly used in company names; are all deemed to be the same.

Companies House gives the example that the following names would be treated as the same name: Hands UK Ltd, Hand’s Ltd and Hands Ltd.

These company names that are treated as the same will be all right IF the companies or LLPs are all within the same group and you have written confirmation that the existing company does not object.

Too like names. Companies House will register a company if it has a similar name to another company but if someone complains and Companies House agrees with the complaint then you will need to change the name.

The example Companies House gives is that “Easy Electrics For You Ltd” is the same as “EZ Electrix 4U Ltd”.

Offensive names are not allowed.

Sensitive names. Certain words are defined as being sensitive, so for example the company’s name cannot imply a link to the Government, unless there is one. Some sensitive words need the Secretary of State’s approval and other words need the approval of another Government department or quasi-government agency, examples being the General Optical Council or The Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Trading name. A company can trade with a different name to its registered name. This trading as name is known as a business name. A Business name also has a few rules that must be followed. You may be able to apply for the Business name to be trade mark protected.

Companies House does have a name checker that can be used to make sure a company name is available.

Once you have decided on the name you will also have to consider other issues like domain names and email addresses, as well as branding and logos.

Aysgarth Chartered Accountants is an accountancy practice that specialises in start-ups and entrepreneurial SMEs. This blog is not intended to give advice but to introduce the subject of Company Names. We would love to discuss incorporating a company for you, when we will go through these items in more details. To arrange an initial no obligations 1 hour meeting please use the contact page to get in touch with us.


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