What’s in a Name?

You are right to object!

Choosing an effective company name requires substantial investment and is critical to how your business is received in the marketplace. So perhaps it’s not surprising that unscrupulous competitors will try to use variations of your name to extract money or steal your hard won market share.

From 1 October 2008, the Companies Act allows you to object, via the Company Names Tribunal, to “opportunistic registration” of a company name. For example, someone registers a variation on the name of a well-known company and tries to sell the registration to that company; or someone knows about a forthcoming merger between two companies and registers possible variations of names for the new business. These would both be opportunistic because the purpose is to cash in on a well known name.

But note that a complaint about a company name registration because it is too similar to your own, but where there is no suspected opportunistic motive, is quite different and is dealt with by Companies House. Before you apply to form a company, it’s important to check that the name you want for your company is acceptable.