25-06-2019

6. Choosing a company name

Before choosing a name you should use our company name availability checker to ensure your chosen name is not the ‘same as’ an existing name on the index. You should also check the UK Intellectual Property Office trade marks register to ensure the proposed name does not infringe an existing trade mark.

You can also seek advice from:

a trade mark attorney using the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys search tool

a solicitor who specialises in intellectual property law - you can use the Law Society search tool to find solicitors in your area

6.1 Choose a name for your proposed company

Although the vast majority of applicants register their chosen name there are some restrictions that may affect a choice of name. These restrictions are set out in the Companies Act 2006, the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/17) and the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3140).

These include:

The name of a private company limited by shares or guarantee must end with ‘limited’ or ‘Ltd’. However, if the registered office is stated as being situated in Wales (a “Welsh” company), its name may instead end with ‘cyfyngedig’ or ‘cyf’.

The name of a public company must end with ‘public limited company’ or ‘p.l.c.’. However, if the registered office is stated as being situated in Wales (a ‘Welsh’ company), its name may instead end with ‘Cwmni Cyfyngedig Cyhoeddus’ or ‘CCC’.

Certain expressions and abbreviations which describe a particular form of company (including Welsh equivalents), can only be used at the end of a name, such as ‘Limited Liability Partnership’ or ‘Community Interest Company’.

A name that could 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 regulations.

A name that includes 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.

6.2 Exemption from including ‘limited’ in a company name

A private company limited by guarantee can apply to be exempt from the requirement to include ‘limited’, ‘ltd’, ‘cyfyngedig’ or ‘cyf’ from its name so long as the articles of association:

state that the objects of the company are the promotion or regulation of commerce, art, science, education, religion, charity or any profession incidental or conducive to any of those objects

require its income to be applied in promoting its objects

prohibit the payment of dividends, or any return of capital, to its members

require all the assets that would otherwise be available to its members generally and transferred on its winding up – either to another body with similar objects or to another body with charitable objects.

If you wish to apply for the exemption upon incorporation you must complete section A3 of the application to register (form IN01).

6.3 ‘Same as’ names

If 2 company names are so similar they are likely to confuse the public as to which company is which, then they are the ‘same as’. The regulations set out the words and expressions that must be disregarded and the words, expressions, signs and symbols that are to be regarded as the same.

6.4 What’s disregarded

The following are disregarded at the end of the name:

Limited; Unlimited; Public Limited Company; Community Interest Company; Right to Enfranchisement; Right to Manage; European Economic Interest Grouping; Investment Company with Variable Capital; Limited Partnership;

Limited Liability Partnership; Open-Ended Investment Company; Charitable Incorporated Organisation; Industrial and Provident Society; Co-Operative Society; Community Benefit Society.

Cyfyngedig; Anghyfyngedig; Cwmni Cyfyngedig Cyhoeddus; Cwmni Buddiant Cymunedol; Cwmni Buddiant Cymunedol Cyhoeddus Cyfyngedig;Hawl I Ryddfreiniad; Cwmni RTM Cyfyngedig; Cwmni Buddsoddi  Chyfalaf Newidiol; Partneriaeth Cyfyngedig; Partneriaeth Atebolrwydd Cyfyngedig; Cwmni Buddsoddiad Penagored; Sefydliad Elusennol Corfforedig.

LTD; PLC; CIC; RTE; RTM; EEIG; LP; LLP; CIO; CYF; CCC; CBC; Cwmni Buddiant Cymunedol CCC; PC; PAC; SEC.

When preceded by a blank space, a full stop or ‘@’ the following:

& co; & company; and co; and company
biz
co; co uk; co.uk; com; company
eu
GB; Great Britain
net; NI; Northern Ireland
org; org uk; org.uk
UK; United Kingdom
Wales
& cwmni; a’r cwmni; cwmni; cym; Cymru
DU
PF; Prydain Fawr
Y Deyrnas Unedig

Any of the above if preceded by and followed by brackets.

The punctuation, signs and symbols ‘ ’ ‘ , ( ), [ ], { }, < >, !, « », “, ”, “, ?, . /, ?, \, /.

“*”, “=”, “#”, “%” and “+” when used as one of the first three characters in a name.

”s” at the end of a name

Any characters after the first 60 characters in a name.

“the” and “www” at the beginning of a name.

6.5 What characters, words, expressions, signs and symbols are considered ’same as’ each other

Permitted characters: to be treated the same as
À Á Â Ã Ä Å Ā Ă Ą Ǻ: A
Æ Ǽ: AE
Ç Ć Ĉ Ċ Č: C
Þ Ď Đ: D
È É Ê Ë Ē Ĕ Ė Ę Ě: E
Ĝ Ğ Ġ Ģ: G
Ĥ Ħ: H
Ì Í Î Ï Ĩ Ī Ĭ Į İ: I
Ĵ: J
Ķ: K
Ĺ Ļ Ľ Ŀ Ł: L
Ñ Ń Ņ Ň Ŋ: N
Ò Ó Ô Õ Ö Ø Ō Ŏ Ő Ǿ: O
ΠOE: CE
Ŕ Ŗ Ř: R
Ś Ŝ Ş Š: S
Ţ Ť Ŧ: T
Ù Ú Û Ü Ũ Ū Ŭ Ů Ű Ų: U
Ŵ Ẁ Ẃ Ẅ: W
Ỳ Ý Ŷ Ÿ: Y
Ź Ż Ž: Z

Permitted characters: to be treated the same as
AND: &
PLUS: +
0, ZERO: O
1: ONE
2, TWO, TO and TOO: TOO
3: THREE
4, FOUR: FOR
5: FIVE
6: SIX
7: SEVEN
8: EIGHT
9: NINE
£: POUND
€: EURO
$: DOLLAR
¥: YEN
%, PER CENT, PERCENT, PER CENTUM: PERCENTUM
@: AT

6.6 Examples of ‘same as’ names

‘ŘEAL COFFEE CAFÉ LTD’ is the same as the ‘REAL COFFEE CAFE LTD’. ‘PLUM TECHNOLOGY LTD’ is the same as ‘PLUM TECHNOLOGY & COMPANY LTD’

6.7 ‘Same as’ rules exceptions

The ‘same as’ rule doesn’t apply if:

the proposed company is intended to be part of the same group as an existing ‘same as’ company; and

the existing company consents to the registration of the proposed name; and

the application to register includes a letter from the existing company confirming that it consents to the registration of the proposed name and that it will form part of the same group