You can find further guidance about naming a company on the Companies House website.
You must form a limited company to secure a company name and prevent others from registering an identical or similar limited company name. Ensure that the desired company name is available before you apply.
No. You must register a new limited company using your desired company name in order to secure a company name and prevent others from using it.
Once your company is incorporated, you may maintain it in a dormant (i.e. non-trading) state, but you must still fulfill your statutory filing and reporting obligations.
You can check if your company name is available on the Uniwide Formations website. We have a free company name checker that will tell you if your chosen name is already in use. The service is fast and easy to use and only takes a few moments.
This tool connects with a government database of registered company names to find out if the limited company name that you would like to use is available at Companies House.
Simply enter your proposed company name into the search box, then click the “Check” button. You will be presented with an immediate response regarding the availability of your chosen name. If it is not available, you may need to consider alternative options.
There are certain circumstances in which limited companies may omit the word “Limited” or “Ltd”. This applies only to a private company which is limited by guarantee. A private company that is limited by guarantee can apply for exemption from the requirement to include “Limited”, “Ltd”, or the Welsh equivalents “Cyfyngedig” or “Cyf”, from its name provided that the articles of association meet specific requirements.
You can apply for exemption from using the term “limited” at the end of your company’s name while you are filling in your application to register it on this website. Either use your own Articles or edit our model Articles to include the objects of your company that meet the requirements for such exemption. To claim an exemption after registration/incorporation, a company that is limited by guarantee must complete Companies House form NE01.
Your company’s name cannot be the same as, or too similar to, the name of any other registered company. No matter what name you choose, it is required that a limited company has either “Limited” or “Ltd” at the end of its name (there is no difference between the two, other than how they are written).
The name should not contain sensitive words or phrases, such as Royal, National or Bank, to comply with Companies House requirements for a company name. It must also be free from offensive language and anything that may be deemed inappropriate in any context.
The company name cannot imply a connection to government or local authorities unless you have the approval of those bodies. It will be rejected if your chosen name breaches any of these requirements.
A company may have only one registered name but it can have also one or more “trading names”. A trading name is a name other than an official registered name or names but under which a person, partnership or company trades, conducts business.
Trading names are often used for marketing purposes or to distinguish one division of the company from another. In such a case the bank account, stationery, advertising, website and so forth of the person, partnership or company concerned must usually state – for example – “Acme Operations Ltd., trading as ABC Servicing”.
Some words are never allowed in a company name. For example, any words whose use either causes offence or which is an offence in and of itself. A company name must not mislead as to the nature of its business activities in any way that is likely to cause harm.
Sensitive words and expressions. There are some words and phrases that are not always forbidden within the name of a company but permission for their use should first be sought from the appropriate body. As a rule, these words and phrases are connected with the government or public authority, for example the words “Queen”, “King”, “Royal”, “Police”, “Law Commission” etc.
Some words and phrases are protected by other legislation. For example, you may not use the word “charity” without the permission of the Charity Commission. Companies House regulates the use of all sensitive words and your company will not be registered if the requirements are not met.
A registered company name is not the same as a registered trade mark. To have exclusive rights over a name or brand as a trade mark it must be separately registered as a trade mark to protect it from use by others. It may also be a good idea to register as a trade mark any trading name you wish to protect for your own exclusive business use.
To register a trade mark, you will need to complete and submit a trade mark application form with the necessary documents and fees to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
The application form will ask for detailed information about your company, including what you wish to register. For example, a logo, words, or an image. Once you have submitted your application, it will be evaluated by the IPO. After that, the registration process may take several months before a registration certificate is issued.
You may also wish to register your company name and/or trading name as a domain name to protect your right to it in that specific form.
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