Why do I need a company name?
A company name gives your brand an identity. Choosing the right name is an exciting step in the process of setting up a company in Ireland.
A Limited Company is a separate legal entity from its Directors and shareholders. This means the company is legally required to have its own, unique name. All company names must also end with the word ‘Limited’ at the end.
Ideally, your company name should be unique, easy to pronounce and appealing to your target market. It can be a new word or a collection of words that emulate your company’s activities, what your company does or the value of your company.
We will discuss the differences between a company name and a business name and our top tips for choosing a company name.
What is the difference between a company name and a business name?
When you set up a Limited Company in Ireland, you need to submit an application to the Companies Registration Office called a form A1. One of the first things they ask for is your company name. The CRO have certain company name guidelines before they will allow you to register a company in Ireland.
For example, company name needs to be unique, can’t be a shortening of other names already registered and cannot be offensive. The CRO is very strict with their requirements for naming your company. The names of closed companies are protected for twenty years after closure.
A company’s name is registered during the incorporation process, however, you can change your limited name at a later date. This can be a costly and timely process, so make sure you get it the right first time!
Once you have found a unique and suitable name for your company, this will be protected by the CRO. The CRO will reject all company formation applications that have a proposed name that is too similar to your company’s name.
Business name (trading name)
Any Sole Trader that wants to trade under any name that isn’t their own true name, they must register their business name with the CRO.
Limited Companies and Partnerships may also want to register a business name is they want to trade under a different name to their company name. For example, our business name is Lizdan Business Services Limited, but the business name that we trade under is Accountant Online.
The CRO does not protect a business name. This means there are no restrictions for any other individuals or companies who want to use your business name. If you’re interested in registering a business name, take a look at our guide for more information on how to register your business name with the CRO.
Registering a business name is a different process than setting up a Limited Company. To register a business name, you need to complete a form RBN1 and submit it to the CRO.
Top tips for choosing your company name
Keep your customer in mind
Before you start your business you should create a customer persona for your target consumer. You should then choose a company name that will help attract this person to your business.
If, for example, you’re selling a professional service your name should be simple, serious and easy to remember. Always remember to keep in mind the target consumer for your market.
Help describe your business with the name
You want something that conveys the identity of your company. A great example of a descriptive company name is Amazon. Named after earth’s largest rainforest. When they launched in 1995 they had the tagline “Earth’s largest bookstore”.
It might be worth having a think about a catchy tagline as well. Many great company names have a memorable tagline to go with them. For example, the brand L’Oreal has the well-known tagline “Because you’re worth it”.
Ask for help
Once you’ve created a list of proposed names, bounce your ideas off your close colleagues, friends, and family. Getting another person’s opinion will give you an entirely new perspective on your shortlist.
Choose a name that will help you grow
When choosing your name always think about the possible expansion of your business. This means you shouldn’t refer to geographic locations when naming your company. Local place names may also clash with another company in the same area.
A name like “Digital Marketing Dublin Limited” may work well at the start, but it limits itself when it comes to expanding the company outside of Dublin.
Think of unique words
There are certain words that the CRO deems too commonly used and don’t count them as separate words in a company name. For example, words like ‘services’, ‘universal’, ‘global’, ‘international’ or similar are too popular and generic. Words such as ‘holding’, ‘group’, ‘solutions’, ‘enterprises’ or similar also have a weak distinction. Place names and numbers are also not recognised as distinguishable. The CRO is likely to refuse any of these examples unless they have a distinguishable and strong word with it.
Check with the CRO
Another tip is to check your company name with the CRO before submitting your application. We offer free company name checks for all our clients so we can ensure that their applications will be accepted the first time around. Although the CRO can't always guarantee that a company name will be accepted, it is a safe bet to follow their guidance on whether or not a company name will be accepted. The CRO will take account of all relevant factors that may suggest similarity and leading to confusion between the names of the two companies.
What happens if your company name is rejected?
You’ll need to think of a new name if you have chosen a company name that the CRO deemed unacceptable or too similiar to other names. Updating your company formation paperwork can be a time-consuming and provide unneccessary stress for you to come up with a new name.
We ask our clients to come up with three company names they would like to use. This means you have other options readily available if your first choice is not accepted.
It’s also worth noting that the CRO may allow a company name, through inadvertence or otherwise, and the public can make an objection to your company name on grounds of similarity. If someone objects, they could be made in writing to the Registrar of Companies within six months following the incorporation of your company. If this happens, you could be directed by the Registrar to change the company name. This change must take place within six weeks of the date of the Registrar’s direction.
Reserving a company name
You can reserve a company name if you are nervous someone may take your name but you are not ready to set up your company. New companies or existing companies that want to change their name can avail of this service.
However, you can only reserve the name for 28 days at a time. The CRO charges a fee for reservation of company name of €25 and this €25 can be offset against your new company formation application (form A1).
If you want to reserve your company name for longer than 28 days, you need to submit a new application on the 28th day and pay an additional €25. Your second or any subsequent reservations cannot be offset against you company formation application.
The name you wish to reserve follows the same guidelines as other company names. So make sure you always check your company name on the CRO’s company search facility to ensure it is unique.
What documentation do I need to register my company name?
Your company name is chosen upon company registration, therefore choosing your company name and registering your company goes hand in hand. As part of our Company Formation Service, we can register your company name within a couple of days.
We will also check run a name check with the registrar to ensure that your company name has the best chance of passing All you have to do is provide us with some a short list of names you are happy with.
If you need help setting up a company in Ireland, we are more than happy to help. We offer a wide-range of services to get your company started in Ireland. Get in touch with us on +353 1 905 9364 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.