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Company Name Registration

There are a number of regulations that apply for company name registration.

Firstly a name will not be registered if it is the same as a name already on the index. You can commence a company name search at Companies House, if the name is offensive or if its use would be a criminal offence. In addition, some company names need the approval of the secretary of state before they can be registered. These include proposed names which contain certain prescribed words and names which suggest a connection with central or local government.

When deciding whether a company name is the 'same as' another name, punctuation, the company's status and words like "company", "co", "and" and "the" will be ignored for the purposes of comparison. A name which sounds the same as one already on the index may be accepted provided that the two company names are spelt differently. You should be aware, however, that should your company name be considered too 'alike' another on the index, your company could be directed to change its name.

Please note that although registering a company name prevents another company having an identical name, it does not stop the name being used as a trading or business name.

You will need the approval of the secretary of state for trade and industry before you use any of the following words or expressions (or their plural or possessive forms) in your chosen company name:

a) Words which imply national or international pre-eminence:

British
England
English
European
Great Britain
International
Ireland
Irish
National
Scotland
Scottish
United Kingdom
Wales
Welsh

b) Words which imply business pre-eminence or representative or authoritative status:

Association
Authority
Board
Council
Federation
Institute
Institution
Society

c) Words which imply specific objects or functions :

Assurance
Assurer
Benevolent
Chamber of commerce
Chamber of commerce,trading & enterprise
Chamber of industry
Chamber of trade
Charter
Chartered
Charity
Chemist
Chemistry
Co-operative
Foundation
Friendly society
Fund
Group
Holding & provident society
Insurance
Insurer
Patent
Patentee
Post office
Reassurance
Re-assurer
Register
Registered
Reinsurance
Re-insurer
Sheffield
Stock exchange
Trade union
Trust

Words and expressions in the following list need the approval of the secretary of state. If you want to use any of them in your company name you will need to write to the relevant body to ask if they have any objection to its use.

  • apothecary
  • charity, charitable
  • contact lens
  • dental, dentistry
  • district nurse, health visitor, midwife, midwifery, nurse, nursing
  • health centre
  • health service
  • police
  • polytechnic
  • pregnancy, termination, abortion
  • royal, royale, royalty, king, queen, prince, princess, windsor, duke, his/her majesty
  • special school
  • university

Certain other words or expressions are covered by other legislation and their use in company names might constitute a criminal offence. Again, the relevant authority should be contacted for advice before proceeding.

  • architect
  • credit union
  • veterinary surgeon, veterinary, vet
  • dentist, dental surgeon, dental practitioner
  • drug, druggist, pharmaceutical, pharmaceutist, pharmacist, pharmacy
  • optician, ophthalmic optician, dispensing optician, enrolled optician, registered optician, optometrist
  • bank, banker, banking, deposit
  • red cross, geneva cross, red crescent, red lion and sun
  • anzac
  • insurance broker, assurance broker re-insurance broker, re-assurance broker
  • chiropodist, dietician, medical laboratory, technician, occupational therapist, orthoptist, physiotherapist, radiographer, remedial gymnast
  • institute of laryngology, institute of otology, institute of utology, institute of orthopaedics
  • patent office, patent agent
  • building society
Our company consultants can advise you on any of the above matters.

The information provided on this page has been sourced through Companies House.

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