If you want to reserve a company name then you must register a new company at Companies House. Nobody can register a company with the same name as that used for another company that already exists. This safeguards the interests of each business, including your own.
One cannot register a company name for use in the future. Once your company is incorporated, however, you may maintain it in a dormant (i.e. non-trading) state but you must still fulfill your statutory filing and reporting obligations.
Can I reserve my company name without forming a company?
No. You must register a limited company using your desired company name in order to reserve that name and prevent others from using it.
Company formation in the UK can be a straightforward and inexpensive process that requires submitting an application to Companies House. In order to ensure that everything is executed correctly, however, many choose to register a company through a professional company formation agency, such as ours, who can provide also much further very useful and valuable guidance, assistance and services. You can complete the application online via our company formation portal and get your company ready within a few hours.
Begin by checking the company name that you want to use has not already been registered by someone else. Otherwise, choose one of the company formation packages on our website, just read through what it tells you and asks you and our system will guide you step by step through the application process.
Once your company is formed, i.e. registered / incorporated, our company management portal will send you reminders about your statutory annual filing obligations for your company, including:
These services can also be provided by Uniwide Formations and ordered through our website.
What is a trading name?
A company may have only one registered name but it can have also one or more other “trading names”. A trading name is a name other than an official registered name or names under which a person, partnership or company trades, i.e. carries out business.
Trading names are often used for marketing purposes or to distinguish one division of the company from another. In such a case the bank account, stationery, advertising, website and so forth of the person, partnership or company concerned must usually state – for example – “Acme Operations Ltd., trading as ABC Servicing”.
Protect your company name in other ways
Lastly, note that a registered company name is not the same as a registered trade mark. To have exclusive rights over a name or brand as a trade mark it must be separately registered as a trade mark to protect it from use by others. For example, another person, partnership or company might decide to use either your registered company name and/or your trading name as their trading name. As long as they are not trying to “pass themselves off” as your business then there is nothing to stop them from doing this unless you register your company name also as a trade mark. It may be a good idea also to register as a trade mark any trading name that you wish to protect for your own exclusive business use.
It is a good idea also to check the register of trade marks before registering a company name and/or adopting a trading name to ensure that it is not the same as anyone else’s existing company or trading name, in which case it would infringe their intellectual property rights. To check this you can go here: https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark.
Thus, to get full protection you may wish to register your company name also as a trade mark, and/or register any trading name as a trade mark, which you can do through this link: https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark.
You may also wish to register your company name and/or trading name as a domain name in order to protect your right to it in that form, too.
Further legal matters and protection: Designs
The rules that apply to trading names are much like those which apply also to any logo, emblem or other distinguishing design that you may wish to use for your business, either under its registered company name or under a trading name.
Firstly, in order to check that you are not infringing someone else’s right to a design that they already use for a business it is a good idea to check in this area. A good place to start is here: https://www.gov.uk/search-registered-design.
Secondly, in order then to protect any logo, emblem or design that you may wish to use for a business, you will need to register its design, which can be done through here: https://www.gov.uk/register-a-design.