New Regulations Coming Into Force Regarding Company Names To Help Business Start-Ups

On 31 January 2015 key changes will be coming into force which will revoke and replace the current regulations concerning company and LLP names. The changes are being introduced as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge to cut the administrative burden that companies face.

The significant changes include extending the list of characters that can be used in a company name to include signs, symbols and punctuation. Current regulations require a company name to consist only of letters from the Roman alphabet and a small number of additional characters. Some companies, therefore, are not always able to use exactly the name that they wish to as their registered name.

As a result of revising the permitted characters that can be used in a company name, the rules concerning when a name may be considered the “same as” another has also been changed. A proposed company name cannot be registered if it is considered the “same as” another name already registered. An example of this is that the current legislation does not treat Newco Ltd to be the same as Newco Company Limited despite them being similar.   The new regulations ensure that these names will be treated the same. A change has also been introduced to ensure that Newco Company Ltd is to be treated the same as Newco and Company Ltd.

As a result of the consultation process prior to the regulations being passed, the regulations have also reduced the list of words and expressions which are to be ignored when considering whether a name is the ‘same as’ another. The names removed are “export”, “group”, “holdings”, “imports”, “international” and “services” along with all Gaelic and Welsh equivalents. Consequently, Newco Exports Limited will now be considered different from Newco Imports Ltd, whereas under the current regulations they were treated as the same.

The regulations also make a change to the trading disclosure requirements. It is not unusual for a number of companies to operate from one location or for formation agent to act as a company secretary for many companies. In such situations the current regulations require the details of all companies at the location to be displayed. The new regulations change this requirement to allow the information to be made available for inspection on request.

For help with forming a company and choosing a business name please do not hesitate to contact the Business Law Team on 0800 037 4628 or send an email enquiry using our contact form.

Nick Pickup

About Nick Pickup

Nick Pickup is a Solicitor within the Corporate and Restructuring team at Forbes Solicitors. Nick’s blogs cover his specialism of work on mergers and acquisitions, business start up’s, joint ventures, shareholder issues, company restructures and general company advice.
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