The guidance and main requirements for choosing a name for incorporating a company in the UK is set out at Companies House. If you are unsure or would like to discuss any part of your business, Central Business Services can help you.
Companies House will check that names are acceptable. The name must meet the legal requirement but at the same time be an effective marketing tool.
Choosing a name for your business is one of the most important things to consider. Once you have chosen your name the next step is to make sure that the name is available. It is also important to check the Trade Marks Register to ensure that the proposed name does not infringe an existing trade mark.
There are several restrictions set out in the legislation. Theses include:
- ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ must be used at the end of your company’s name if it is a private company limited by shares or guarantee.
- ‘Plc’ must be used at the end of the name if it is public company.
- Certain expressions and abbreviations which describe a form of a company can only be used at the end of a name, such as ‘Limited Liability Partnership’ or ‘Community Interest Company’
- No chosen name should suggest a connection with the UK government, a devolved administration, a local authority or a specified public authority.
- A name that includes sensitive words or expressions included in the regulations will be rejected.
- A name should not include words that would constitute an offence.
- An offensive name.
- A name which is the ‘same as’ an existing name on the index.
- The use of certain characters, signs, symbols and punctuation in a company name.
We would be pleased to help you check the availability of a proposed name – just give us a call on (01509) 816150 or by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page.
It is possibly to have a trading name which is different to the company name. For example, ABC Ltd trading as XYZ. If you are doing this you need to be aware that the same level of protection doesn’t apply and that any letterheads, invoices and other documents need to show both names. And you must inform your bank and agree with them that they will accept cheques in the trading name.
You could register a trading name as a trademark if it is unique in its field. For example, we mention Quickbooks® a lot but Quickbooks® is not a company; it is a trademark and trading name of Intuit Ltd.