Changes to the rules for company and business names

The UK government response to the Company and Business Names: Red Tape Challenge consultation was published on 4 October 2013.

The consultation sought views on the future of names regulations in general and invited comments on the options for improving and simplifying them. It considered the need to maintain the current regulations which, primarily, set out rules regarding ‘same as’ names and ‘sensitive’ words and expressions.

When the changes are due

The regulations are due to be in force from 31 January 2015.

The regulations concerned are:

  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014
  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2014

Main changes

Fewer words will be disregarded for the purposes of deciding whether one name is the ‘same as’ another on the register to allow more choice and make name swaps within groups of companies easier – the words (and their Welsh equivalents) to be removed include:

  • exports
  • group
  • holdings
  • imports
  • international
  • services

Updates to the list of permitted characters, signs, symbols and punctuation to include accents and other diacritical marks.

Amendments to the list of expressions to be disregarded for the purposes of ‘same as’ (including their Welsh equivalents) are:

  • ‘& Co’
  • ‘& Company’
  • ‘and Co’
  • ‘and Company’

The list of words and expressions to be disregarded includes where they are used with brackets, meaning a name which is currently not the ‘same as’ because of the inclusion of brackets will in future be treated as ‘same as’.

Widening of the ‘same as’ consent provision to make it easier for companies in same group to grant permission to register a proposed name.

Amending trading disclosure requirements so that any company located in an office or other location occupied by 6 or more companies may make its registered name available for inspection on a register.

Fewer ‘sensitive’ words and expressions, so the list (and where applicable Welsh and Gaelic equivalents) will no longer include:

  • abortion
  • authority
  • banknote
  • board
  • data protection
  • disciplinary
  • discipline
  • European
  • giro
  • group
  • holding
  • human rights
  • international
  • national
  • oversight
  • pregnancy termination
  • register
  • registered
  • registration
  • registry
  • regulation
  • rule committee
  • United Kingdom
  • watchdog
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz

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