You may already have a name in mind for your business, or you might just be coming up with ideas. Regardless of the stage your company is at, if you plan to set up a UK company, there are a few legal requirements you should be aware of when choosing a business name.
What should I call my business?
First and foremost, you should choose a name that is going to be useful to you and let your customers know what it is that you do. You should also try and make the name memorable and easy to spell so that customers can easily find you online.
However, the law dictates that you must make sure your company name is distinct from other companies in the same line of business as you. This means your company name must not mislead customers into believing that they are dealing with another business. If you do this, you could find yourself accused of ‘passing off’ – a breach of the law which could have significant consequences for your business. You must also ensure you are not infringing any trading names or registered trademarks.
Our advisors will be able to assist you in checking that your company name is distinct from other registered businesses by checking the Companies House index of companies and the Trade Marks Registry. When you are thinking about company names it can also be useful to check whether the domain name you would like is in use by another business.
Honest business naming
When it comes to choosing your new business name, there are some restrictions on the use of certain words in company names in the UK. These are known as ‘sensitive words’ and include terms such as ‘international’ and using professional terms like ‘architect’ or ‘lawyer’ where you are not adequately qualified.
Using your own name
Perhaps you work freelance and would like to trade under your own name? This should not be a problem and you can choose to trade under your own name or a business name. A partnership may also trade under the names of all the partners or a business name.
However, if you choose to trade under a business name instead of your own name, you are under an obligation to disclose ownership and the official address of your business on any company stationery, on your website, on your premises and when anyone makes an enquiry.
For more advice on choosing a name when you set up a UK company, contact us at Goodwille. We help businesses with the many legal and financial aspects of setting up a business to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.