Excluded Company Names

So you come up with your company name, but will this definately be accepted by the Registrar of Companies? Simple answer no. There are four blanket exemptions:

  • It is the same as a name already registered on the index of company names – puntuation is ignored as is “the” at the beginning of a name and “co”, “company” etc
  • It includes (apart from at the end of the name) “limited”, “Public Limited COmpany”, “unlimited”, “PLC”, “Ltd” or their Welsh equivalents.
  • In the opinion of the Secretary of State it is offensive
  • In the opinion of the Secretary of State its use would constitute a criminal offence.

On top of these exemptions there are other restricted names that require the approval of the Secretary of State before they can be registered, there are three categories of these:

  • Those that require only the approval of the Secretary of State – including names that imply national or international importance for example “British” or “European”, those that imply specific functions for example “insurer” etc
  • Those that require both the approval of the Secretary of State and also a regulatory body – for example the use of “dentist” or “royal”
  • Those covered by other legislation which have the effect that their unauthorised use is a criminal offence – for example “veterinary” (or other words that give the effect that the company is a vet), “patent agent” etc. In these circumstances permission must be sought from the relevant regulatory body for example the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (unsurprisingly for the use of “veterinary” or other similar words).

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