Register a company name

If you are forming a business and need help when it comes to register a company name, reach out to the formation experts at Company Formations 24.7 today.

As part of the process of incorporating your business, you will need to register a company name with Companies House.

While choosing what you’d like to call your company might be straightforward, there are certain stipulations in place of which to be mindful when it comes registering a business name.

How to register a company name

A formation agent can quickly and easily register your company name on your behalf.

The process takes mere minutes and costs a small fee, and having a formation agent can register your company name for you can simplify the process substantially. They can ensure that there are no other businesses currently trading under your proposed name, and they will make sure that yours is unique and not too similar to other registered company names to avoid confusion. Companies House will then decide whether or not to approve the name, as names can be rejected on certain grounds, such as:

  • The company name is already registered
  • The company name contains insensitive or offensive words
  • The company name implies connection to the government
  • The company director does not meet the age requirement (s/he must be at least 16 years of age)
  • The director has been registered as an undischarged bankrupt, or as a disqualified director of a previous company
  • The given address for the registered office is wrong, or is not in the correct region

If you neglect to include the right paperwork when trying to register a business name, this can also result in it being rejected.

If your company name is approved, an official business name registration certificate will be issued, and the name of your company will be made public by being added to the registered list of companies.

It can be the case however that once you have registered a company in the UK, you decide that you want to trade under something different. For example, if a company starts a new venture that is a subsidiary of their existing business, they may choose to trade through this business under a different name whilst filing all the paperwork and financials through their existing limited company. It may also be the case that one single company is the umbrella company for a number of different ventures.

There can be some advantages to this, the primary one being that it is quicker and easier to get up and running without the cost and time associated with registering a company name again. However, there are legal stipulations of which to be aware, as outlined in The Business Names Act 1985. Similarly to working with a registered name, you must ensure the trading name is not already registered and/or attributed to another company. The use of words that could imply a connection to the government, along with obscene or sensitive words is also prohibited. You cannot use the words “limited” or “LTD” in a trading name, as it implies that it is a registered business name, which it technically is not.

As navigating the waters of trading under a different name to that of your business can be tricky, especially for a first-time director, working alongside a formation agent will enable you to steer clear of problems, helping you register your name in a way that’s quick and stress-free.

Do’s and don’ts when registering a company name

When registering a business name, there are some important things you should bear in mind:

  • Do ask your agent to see if the matching domain name is available when looking to register a business name.
  • Do make sure your company name is available by asking your agent to run your chosen name through the company name checker.
  • Do ask your agent to trademark your name through the IPO once you have chosen it to prevent any other companies from trading under it.
  • Do be creative when choosing your business name, as this lessens the likelihood that someone already has it in use or will attempt to use it in the future.
  • Don’t choose a name that is too literal or contains misspelled words.
  • Don’t attempt to register a name that has already been trademarked, or a variation of.
  • Don’t put off your application under the assumption that no one will take your name, especially if you are already investing in domains and marketing materials. This can be a costly mistake if your name is rejected and consequently these materials cannot be used.
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