This is not always as easy as it seems. There are strict criteria to be considered when registering a new company. These are set out in the Companies Acts and Regulations.
Choosing a Company Name
Choosing a name for your company is one of the most important decisions to make. Very few Clients would describe their choice of business name as irrelevant. For most, it is the essence that conveys the business purpose. If prospective clients search the internet for a plumber in your town, for instance, your company name has to be what they notice.
A company name cannot be the same as an existing one, in the index of names held at Companies House. Also it cannot infringe upon an existing Trade Mark. Very importantly, it cannot be misleading.
The systems we use at Murphy Thompson Moore, automatically check the company register and will show if the name you have chosen is available to be registered. Sometimes a rejected name can be tweaked, to make it acceptable, but it is always advisable for you to have an alternative in mind.
An example of a name that Companies House would deem same as is:
Plum Technology Ltd would be considered the same as Plum Technology & Company Limited, but not the same as Plum Technology (Manchester) Ltd. Adding the word Manchester makes the name distinct.
Are there exceptions? Yes there are. The same as rule does not apply if the new company is to be part of an existing group and/or the existing company consents to the use of the name. This consent must be in the form of a letter.
Companies House have a long list of words and expressions that cannot be used in a company name. The list also contains examples that can be used, but only in certain circumstances. In short, the regulations exist to ensure that the public are protected and not mislead or harmed. It may not be appropriate to suggest business pre-eminence, status or function, for example, names that include British, or Institute. You cannot use words that represent a regulated activity, unless you can prove entitlement.
Companies House publish a full list of these words and expressions. It can be found by clicking the button below. Note that the are three parts to the list, all of which should be read. Annex A, Annex B & Annex C. Each word (or phrase) is accompanied by an explanation and guidelines for its use.