The old adage, “Your business is your baby”, particularly holds true when you’re starting a new company and have to choose a fitting name. Your first port of call would be to run a Companies House company name check in order to see if your desired name is available. This article will explain how to run a Companies House company name check and outline all you need to know about the implications of your limited company name.
What are the Rules Around Limited Company Names?
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) clearly outline the rules and regulations for choosing a company name in their incorporation and names guidance.
A Companies House company name check will show you exactly what name you are permitted to use.
What Names You Should Not Register
Before running your Companies House company name check, you must consider the following factors:
- Do not attempt to register a company name that is too similar to any other company name on the register. This would lead to confusion and public misunderstanding. However, this is not an issue if an existing company consents to the registration of your name, or if your new company is going to be part of the same group of a current company.
- Avoid including words in your company name that suggest your enterprise has links to the UK government, public authority, the Royal family, or any other kind of official institution.
- Do not use words with connotations of business pre-eminence or a particular kind of status.
- Any reference to a geographical location in a company name suggests a link to an official organisation or administrative authority, for example, “United Kingdom”, “London”, “Scotland” etc. Such words/company names would require approval from the Secretary of State at Companies House.
- You must avoid choosing a company name with offensive words or an allusion to criminal activity.
- Avoid any intellectual property infringement and possible legal disputes by checking the Trade Mark register.
- If you want to use a word that implies a specific profession or function, you have to prove that you have the legal qualifications to provide such a service. You will also need approval from the appropriate body related to your profession/qualification in question.
Including “Limited” or “Ltd” in Your Company Name
It is a legal requirement for private limited companies to include the words “Limited” or “Ltd” at the end of their name. Companies that are registered in Wales can use “Cyfyngedig” or “CFY”. There’s no legal difference between the complete “Limited” and the abbreviated “Ltd”; either of these can be registered, and both are interchangeable after incorporation.
However, some exemptions may apply for certain limited by guarantee companies.
Dissolved Limited Company Names
You are not legally prevented from using a dissolved limited company name. If you wish to use a dissolved company name, simply research the company’s past trading activities to find out if there are any negative/criminal associations attached to that particular name.
Even though you will be issued your own unique company registration number, this will mean little to customers who have endured dissatisfactory services from the dissolved company. Hence, it’s vital to research your potential company name in order to avoid risking damage to your reputation.
Similar to running a Companies House company name check, you can find out about a company by assessing their last set of accounts via Companies House Service. Additionally, running a simple Google search will return newsworthy information about the dissolved company. A credit check of the dissolved company may be worth considering as this will disclose whether the company has any County Court Judgements (CCJs).
Running a Companies House Company Name Check
Now that you know what to look out for, and what options are available, you simply need to run a Companies House company name check on Companies House’s “name availability checker”.
You can also use the assistance of a company formations agent to ensure all details, processes and research is carried out without hindrance.
When it comes to choosing your company name, you should adhere to the regulations and avoid using words that can be detrimental to your company’s credibility. Run a Companies House company name check and check for your desired name’s availability. If your company name is rejected by Companies House, you will have to choose a new company and resubmit your application.
To find out more about running a Companies House company name check, or further information about choosing a limited company name, contact our dedicated and experienced company formations team, today.