New regulations came into force on 31 January 2015, which simplify the company name rules under the Companies Act 2006. The new regulations reduce the list of sensitive words and expressions that require prior approval from certain government agencies or bodies, permitting greater variety of typographical characters and symbols to be used and relax the trading disclosure requirements of the display of company names.
As a result, some words which were deemed the “same as” under the previous regime have been changed. The list will no longer include, for example, the words “Group”, “Holdings”, “Services”, “International”. In addition, the list of words which were deemed to be “sensitive” under the previous regime is also reduced, which means that prior approval will no longer be required in order to use certain words, such as “European”, “United Kingdom”, “National”, “International” etc.
Therefore, it is important to consider protecting your company name by registering similar names in in order to avoid any issues with registration later on, and prevent new companies being registered with a very similar name. For example, if your existing company is registered as “XYZ Limited”, anyone can register the names “XYZ Group Limited”, “XYZ Holdings Limited”, “XYZ Services Limited” or “XYZ International Limited” without needing prior consent from you. You may also wish to exploit this change in reverse.
Michelmores LLP provides a Company Name Protection Service which involves an existing company applying for the incorporation of at least three companies with different variations of the company name. This service allows the incorporation of the three main company name derivatives for the price of two.