How to reserve a company name

Discover how to reserve a company name and what this means for your business.

Below, you’ll discover how to reserve a company name, so you can be sure that you’ll be able to use it when you’re ready to launch your business.

How to reserve a company name

To reserve a company name, you’ll first have to create your limited company and register it with Companies House. It is not possible to reserve a name for a company you want to create in the future.

As part of this process, you’ll need to check whether your company name hasn’t already been taken. There are many websites that allow you to do this, but it’s best to check the official Companies House register.

There are various rules for company names that you’ll have to follow. For example, your name can’t be too similar to existing company names or trademarks, nor can it be offensive in any way.

Do I need a trademark?

Registering your company name with Companies House doesn’t trademark it.

It’s the trademark that registers your company name as your intellectual property and prevents other people from stealing it. While it’s not compulsory to trademark your business name, it’s highly recommended to do so for this reason.

You can apply to register your trademark using the UK government website. As well as your company name, you may choose to also trademark marketing slogans, logos or brand colour schemes. The Intellectual Property Office offers a search engine of all existing registered trademarks.

Do I need a trading name?

You can choose to trade under a different name to your registered company name. This is called your “trading name” or “business name” – and must also be declared while registering your company with Companies House. It must meet the same standards as your registered company name.

Even when you have a separate trading name, you must still display your registered company name on all of your business premises (unless you work from your home) and on all promotional material.

What about a domain name?

All businesses have some sort of online presence these days. So, as soon as you’re decided on your company name, you may want to buy it as a domain name. You can buy the domain name before you create the company, so there is no reason to hesitate.

Do you need to create a company name?

You must choose and register a company name if you’re setting up a limited business.

If you’re launching your business as a sole trader or a partnership, you don’t need to register a business name with Companies House. However, you may still want to trademark your business name to stop other people trading under that name.

How much does it cost?

You register your company name with Companies House automatically as part of the incorporation process. This costs £12 online or £40 by post. It costs £170 to trademark your company name.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Stop people from stealing your company name
  • Add an extra level of authenticity to your brand
  • Make your company more attractive to potential buyers

Cons

  • There are fees associated with registering and trademarking your company name

The bottom line

Although registering your company name is only compulsory for limited companies – and trademarking isn’t compulsory at all – there are many advantages to doing so.

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