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Can I choose any company name I want?
The company name must be available, i.e. cannot be the same as an existing name on the register; and will be checked for sensitive or offensive words or expressions.
During the company formation we have a tool that can check if the name is available, it will also indicate if the name is too similar to a name already registered.
You should also check the Trade Marks Register of the UK Intellectual Property Office to ensure that the proposed name does not infringe an existing trade mark.
You can also seek advice from the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.
1. 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’.
2. 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’.
3. 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’.
4. A name that could suggest a connection with the UK government, a devolved administration, a local authority or a specified public authority.
5. A name that includes sensitive words or expressions included in regulations.
6. A name that includes words that would constitute an offence.
7. An offensive name.
8. A name which is the ‘same as’ an existing name on the index.
9. The use of certain characters, signs, symbols and punctuation in a company name.
The company name cannot contain more than 160 characters including spaces and name ending (e.g. limited or ltd.) All company names will be converted to capital letters and some symbols are not permitted in the name.
Sensitive words and expressions in a company name
If the proposed company name contains sensitive or restricted words or expressions, you cannot currently use this online service to incorporate your company.
The sensitive words and expressions require approval by the Secretary of State to be in the name of a company or LLP name, or a business name. This is because you must provide appropriate supporting documentation before the company name will be accepted. Information intended to support a proposed name, such as a letter or email of non-objection from a specified body, must be included with the application to use a business name.
The controls exist to ensure a name does not mislead or harm the public. It may not be appropriate to use a certain word if it:
· suggests business pre-eminence, a particular status, or a specific function, for example, names that include ‘British’, ‘Institute’ or ‘Tribunal’
· implies a connection with the UK government, a devolved administration or a local or specified public authority
· includes a word that represents a regulated activity
· includes a word whose use could be an offence
The Company Name Check will check if a company name contains sensitive words or expressions, and display a warning notifying you of the sensitive word.
Other words or expressions considered to be offensive are not permitted and will result in the company incorporation being rejected.
We recommend that you carry out a thorough check on your company name before applying, the gov.uk website has a list of all sensitive names.