Choosing a Company Name

Find out how to ensure your chosen company name is free of any potential legal pitfalls...

You may not choose a name for your private limited company that:

  • is already registered
  • is identical to
  • or is similar to or incorporates the registered trade mark of a third party on the UK companies register

You may be in danger of infringing that trade mark if you choose a company or trading name that is identical to or similar to that of another company, you also risk becoming the target of a ‘passing off’ action by that other company, even if the businesses are not in a similar trade.

To avoid these problems, you should conduct a series of searches, including searches at Companies House and the UK Intellectual Property Office, as well as wider searches, for businesses using the relevant name. It is recommended that you employ the services of a professional firm that specialises in this area of the law.

Your company’s name may not include such words as ‘International’, ‘British’, ‘Holdings’ or ‘Group’ without the prior approval of the Registrar of Companies. Certain other words, such as ‘Pharmaceutical’, require third party consent.

It is not generally possible to form a company with a name that is similar to another that is already registered (for example ABC GB Limited and ABC Limited) unless your company is part of the same group as that company. In such cases approval is required from the Registrar of Companies.

Information supplied by PriceWaterhouseCoopers PWC, 1 Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6RH Contact: Mike Curran | Tel: 0207 213 8190 | e-mail or Dipan Shah | Tel: 0207 804 0685 | e-mail