View Full Version : Business names similarities
Just in the process of brainstorming business name ideas.
I've come up with ideas and then googled them to check there isn't already businesses of that name. Can anyone tell me how different the names have to be? I don't want to steal anyone's name but at the same time everything I look up there seems to be something similar but not quite the same.
Im new to this so is there somewhere to look up registered business names?
11-07-11, 05:05 PM
From what I understand as long as no one has registered the name with companies house or has trademarked it you can consider using it. Then you have to check that no one in your industry sector is using it in your area.
Im not totally sure, but think this is the way it works
12-07-11, 06:02 PM
Companies House (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/index.shtml)
Company name and trade mark checker | Business Link (http://www.businesslink.org/bdotg/action/cntc)
Intellectual Property Office - Welcome to the Intellectual Property Office (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/home.htm)
Be VERY careful about how you go about naming your business and starting a company.
I would suggest you get some free advice from an accountant and a trademark attorney if you are thinking of a long term plan and want to expand the business in future.
This link will let you search for ones in your area: ITMA (http://www.itma.org.uk/)
Basically, the copyright and trademark laws are extremely complex which I found out to my misfortune recently. We did a brain storming exercise and google searched etc and thought we had found a unique name and designed a logo. The word we chose was a spanish word and the only search results with companies house (The three links at the top will let you search for existing company details) were companies based abroad.
We paid the fee and the trademark attorney dealing with our application said it was unique enough to register and there were no similar companies in this country to contest it that were already registered!
We thought fab, this is good cos that is the hard bit often, we were told. Anyways, to cut a long story short, we had communication from them of an appeal against our application. After several meetings with solicitors, it seems that even if you have a trademark etc it offers very little protection, as a company that may exist somewhere, even if you didn't know it exists, can contest your business name and challenge it if they have been trading for longer even if they haven't registered for a trademark.
So we decided to re-brand but it was a really useful process for us as I chose a name based on my name so could never be accused of copying someone else. Also, it gave us a brilliant opportunity to re-assess the business and we have had far better feedback with the new name from clients so it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
So...i suppose it depends what you want from the business. If you are just going to be self employed with only as few staff it may be better not to bother with the trademark stuff etc. If you are thinking big and want to expand then get some legal advice first as the attorneys listed on that site often do a 45 min free appointment.
It is pretty hard to find a truly unique name in these times but it wouldn't hurt to have a go...
Oh, and for the legal structure such as sole trader vs limited company etc, definitely speak to an accountant as for registering VAT as there are some major pitfalls you need to avoid! There are so many websites offering 'comapny formations for just £10' etc but you need to make sure it is the right structure for your personal circumstances.
Business link offer free courses as well so give them a call and go on some in your area.
Let me know if you want any other info?
thanks so much for all that info. I will have a read through those links.
I think I have settled on using my name as every different idea I came up with was used in some way by more than one company and even when I checked the business register more than one company came up which confused me even more!
Thank you so much!!
13-07-11, 10:31 PM
No problem and best of luck!