How to Check Name Availability at Companies House?

Are you ready to take the next step in starting your business but unsure if your desired name is available? Look no further! In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of checking name availability at Companies House. Don’t let a lack of research hold you back from creating the perfect name for your company – read on to learn how to secure that ideal moniker for your business venture.

How to Check Name Availability at Companies House?

To ensure that your chosen business name is unique and ready for registration, it is important to check its availability at Companies House. According to the regulations, a business name cannot be the same as another registered company’s name. Additionally, if your name is too similar to an existing company’s name or trademark, you may be required to change it. The name must usually end with “Limited” or “Ltd,” and if registered in Wales, it can include the Welsh equivalents “Cyfyngedig” and “Cyf.”

You can check the availability of company names at Companies House by using their register. It is important to note that “same as” names, which include certain punctuation, special characters, similar words or characters, or commonly used words in UK company names, may only be registered if the company is part of the same group or if there is written confirmation from the existing company or LLP.

Choosing a Business Name

Choosing a business name is a crucial task, especially if you plan to set up a limited company. Before finalizing a name, it is recommended to use the company name availability checker provided by Companies House. This tool allows you to verify if your chosen name is already registered by another company. Additionally, it is important to check the UK Intellectual Property Office trade marks register to ensure that your proposed name does not infringe on an existing trademark.

Companies House also imposes certain rules on the use of words and expressions in company names, LLPs, or business names. These controls are in place to prevent misleading or harmful names. Some words may require approval from the Secretary of State to be used in a company name, such as words suggesting business pre-eminence, UK government connections, regulated activities, or offensive words. There is a list of sensitive words and expressions that may require specific approvals.

When selecting a business name, consider the following:

  • Ensure the name aligns with your brand and target audience
  • Keep it simple, memorable, and easy to pronounce
  • Avoid using generic or overused terms
  • Check for domain name availability to secure a matching website address

By conducting thorough research and following the rules set forth by Companies House, you can choose a unique and legally compliant business name that effectively represents your brand.

Example:

Suppose you are starting a clothing company specializing in sustainable fashion. Instead of a generic name like “Fashion Clothing Ltd,” you could choose a more distinctive and environmentally conscious name like “EcoThreads Ltd.” This name not only reflects your brand’s values but is also more likely to stand out in the market.

Considerations for Choosing a Business Name: Benefits:
Relevance to your brand and target audience Ensures your name resonates with your customers
Memorability and easy pronunciation Makes it easier for customers to remember and spread the word about your business
Uniqueness and distinctiveness Sets your business apart from competitors and helps create brand recognition
Domain name availability Allows you to secure a matching website address for your business

Other Rules for Company Names

In addition to checking the availability of your desired company name, there are other important rules and considerations to keep in mind when choosing a name for your business.

1. Avoid Offensive or Sensitive Words

When selecting a company name, it is crucial to ensure that it does not contain any offensive or sensitive words or expressions. These words may be inappropriate and can negatively impact your business’s reputation. For instance, naming your company with a word like “Accredited” requires the necessary permission from the Department for Business and Trade.

2. Similarity to Existing Names

Companies House has strict regulations regarding the similarity of company names. If your chosen name is deemed too similar to an existing registered name, you may be asked to make changes. Companies House will contact you if such a situation arises and provide further instructions.

3. Trading Names

Trading names, which are different from the registered name, must not contain certain restricted words, such as “limited” or “Ltd.” It is also essential to ensure that your trading name does not infringe on another company’s trademark.

4. Displaying the Company Name

Displaying your company name follows specific rules. However, if your company is registered as a charity or limited by guarantee and meets certain criteria outlined by the articles of association, you may not be required to use “limited” in your company name.

To summarize, when choosing a company name, it is crucial to avoid offensive or sensitive words, consider the similarity to existing names, adhere to rules regarding trading names, and follow the guidelines for displaying your company name. By ensuring compliance with these rules, you can select a suitable and distinctive name for your business.

Steps to Set Up a Limited Company

Setting up a limited company involves several important steps, starting with the process of checking the availability of your chosen company name. Before you can register your company name, it is essential to ensure that it is available and meets the rules and regulations set by Companies House.

To begin, use the company name search or business name registration resources mentioned earlier to check the availability of your desired name. This step is crucial as it ensures that your chosen name is unique and not already registered by another company.

Once you have confirmed that your company name is available, you can proceed with the registration process. This typically involves a number of key tasks:

Appoint Directors and a Company Secretary:

Choose individuals to serve as directors and a company secretary for your limited company. Directors are responsible for managing the company’s activities, while the company secretary ensures compliance with legal requirements.

Decide on Shareholders or Guarantors:

Determine the individuals or entities who will be shareholders or guarantors of the company. Shareholders are owners of the company, while guarantors provide a guarantee in case the company becomes insolvent.

Prepare Documents:

Prepare important documents such as the memorandum and articles of association. These documents outline the company’s internal governance and processes.

Register with Companies House:

Submit the necessary documents and register your company with Companies House. This step officially establishes your limited company as a legal entity.

Consider Corporation Tax Registration:

Depending on your circumstances and the nature of your business, you may also need to register for Corporation Tax separately with HM Revenue and Customs.

By following these steps, you can successfully set up a limited company and ensure that your chosen company name meets all the requirements set by Companies House.

company name availability check

Conclusion

Checking the availability of company names at Companies House is an essential step in the process of setting up a limited company. By ensuring that your chosen name complies with the rules and is unique, you can avoid potential issues and complications in the future.

Using the company name availability checker and conducting thorough research on trademarks can help you find a suitable and distinctive name for your business. Remember to follow the additional rules set forth by Companies House regarding sensitive words and expressions, offensive names, and the display of your company name. By adhering to these guidelines, you can register your company name with confidence and start your business on the right foot.

Registering your company name with Companies House is a simple and straightforward process that can be done online. Take advantage of the resources available to ensure your business name is available and meets all the necessary requirements. With a unique and compliant name, you can establish your brand identity and begin your entrepreneurial journey with peace of mind.

FAQ

What should I consider when choosing a business name?

When choosing a business name, it is important to check its availability at Companies House and ensure that it is not too similar to an existing company’s name or trademark. The name should also comply with the regulations, which usually require it to end with “Limited” or “Ltd.”

Are there any other rules for company names?

Yes, there are other rules for company names. They must not be offensive, include sensitive words or expressions without the necessary permission, or infringe on another company’s trademark. Companies House may contact you if they believe your chosen name is too similar to an existing name.

Why is it important to check name availability at Companies House?

Checking name availability at Companies House is crucial to ensure that your chosen name is unique and ready for registration. By verifying its availability, you can avoid potential issues and complications in the future. It also helps you comply with the rules and regulations set forth by Companies House.

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