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What’s In A Name? – Irish Company Name Requirements

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What’s In A Name  – Irish Company Name RequirementsEvery company registered in Ireland must have a name which is different from that of every other registered company.

In addition to this requirement a private company limited by shares must have the word “Limited” or “Teoranta” as the last word of its name. However, exemption may be sought from this requirement if a company meets the criteria as set down by the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

Selecting A Suitable Company Name

Prior to lodging the documentation to form a company it is advisable to check the proposed name of the Company against index of registered companies. To avoid infringement of a registered trademark, a search of the name should also be made at the Irish Patents Office.

The following guidelines should also be taken into consideration when choosing a suitable name:

  • Include additional words to create a distinction between names.
  • Place names are not deemed to be sufficiently distinctive.
  • A number on its own will not be accepted as a sufficient distinguishing mark, unless the company concerned is part of a group.
  • Names that are phonetically or visually similar to a name already registered will not be registered for example “Three Limited” and “3 Limited”.
  • Similar descriptive elements “Holding”, “Group”, “International” etc. are not deemed to be distinctive.
  • For Management Companies a review of section 14(3) of the Multi- Unit Developments Act 2011 should be completed when selecting a name.

The Registrar will not approve a Company name for registration if:

  • It is deemed too similar to a name already registered.
  • It is offensive
  • It would suggest state sponsorship
  • The name includes certain words which require approval by the relevant bodies. For example “Bank”, “Society” “Co-operative”, “University” or “Insurance”.

Power Of The Registrar

The Registrar makes the final decision on whether or not a name has been approved upon receipt of the application. If an already registered company objects to a new name the Registrar has the power to direct, within 6 months of registration of the new name, that the second company alter its name within 6 weeks of registration, or such longer period as the Registrar may allow. In accordance with section 23 of the Companies Act 1963, a company that fails to comply with the direction will be eligible for prosecution.

Change Of Name

Should a company wish to change its name the same checks with the CRO and Patents Office should be completed.  In addition, the company must be up to date with their annual statutory filing. The CRO will not accept a change of name application until all outstanding annual returns have been filed.

Business Names

Business name registration is required by limited companies, individuals or partnerships that trade under a name other than their legal name.

As with new company names, a check should be carried out with the CRO and the Patents Office.

Displaying The Name

Section 114 of Companies Act 1963 provides that every company is required to display its name on the outside of every office or place in which its business is carried on. The company name must be shown in all official publications of the company to include letters, invoices, credit notes etc.

Failure to do so can lead to the Company and its officers being liable to a fine.

For further information on the legal requirements regarding company stationary please refer to our previous blog post Disclosure & Publication Requirements For Irish Companies & Business Names

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