Why does Companies House have rules about what I can name my company?

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Good morning

We are going to set up a limited company, and wanted to use the word “royal” in the name. But apparently Companies House is funny about letting companies use words like that in a name, and might point-blank refuse our formation application because of it. Why do they have rules about company names at all?

Answers

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Ha, yes, it does seem overly restrictive at first, but there are good reasons why Companies House imposes strict rules and regulations when choosing a company name.

One of the main restrictions is that no two company names can be the same or too similar. This is to ensure the public is not misled or confused about which company is which. Similar company names will only be approved if the companies are part of the same group. You can, however, use the name of a dissolved company.

In your case, the word ‘Royal’ is classed as a sensitive word because it suggests an association with the Royal family and creates business pre-eminence. This is considered an unfair representation of your company’s status because the public may wrongly assume that your company is connected to, or endorsed by, the Royal family. I know it seems silly, but some people are very literal in their understanding of business names.

There is not an outright ban on using sensitive words and expressions in a company name, but you must be able to satisfy Companies House that the inclusion of the word ‘Royal’ is acceptable. For example:

  • The word is relevant to the history of the company and its future plans
  • You can provide details of any Royal or Government associations/leading members.
  • You wish to use the name to represent an existing public house, hotel or similar establishment that has existed for a considerable length of time
  • The name represents a street name, surname or has long usage

If you can satisfy any such conditions, you must provide evidence for Companies House. Your application will then be reviewed by the Secretary of State through Companies House.

a year ago
 

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