How to select a Company or LLP Name - Law and Logic
Selection of a company or LLP is the most unpredictable task in the process of stating a company and LLP. Naming of a Business by a promoter is a logical decision and approval of the name by office of Registrar of Companies is a legal decision.
What is in a Name? – A lot for Business..!
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare.
Any number of people and place can have same or similar name. So, name is not a matter. Shakespeare is true with respect to names of individuals’ and places.
However, in case of a business, the name is a major factor as the business or product itself is identified and known by the name. if there are two business with same name, it will lead to confusion among the customers and stakeholders. So, the business registration laws such as Companies Act, and LLP Act puts a lot of restrictions on naming a registered business.
For business, brands and business names are also important as the name of entity. That is where Trademark Registration laws comes to place.
As the business names and brand names are the only one identification available to the stakeholders, the regulator comes to safeguard the business names and brand or trade names.
Company / LLP Name Guidelines
Before registering a business name, an entrepreneur has to choose a suitable name for the business entity. Proposed name for Company or LLP must adhere the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs from time to time. Company Name Guidelines and LLP Name Guidelines are the basic guidelines to be followed while selecting a Company / LLP Name.
Also, the registered trademarks or the trademarks for which an application filed are also to be considered while selecting a Company / LLP Name.
Generally, one has to keep the following important points in mind while selecting a name
- Proposed name should not be same or similar as an existing Company or LLP.
- Proposed name should not ne same or similar as a Trade Mark
Same Name or Similar Names
The term ‘Same’ is to check whether the proposed name exactly matches with existing company or LLP names or same as a registered trademark or a trade mark under registration.
However, the term ‘Similar’ is subject wide interpretation by office of Registrar of Companies. While scrutinizing the similarity of names, ROC office compares the proposed name with existing names with criteria such as phonetical similarity, same meaning in different language, addition / deletion a particular alphabet to twist the name, names with or without space, addition / deletion of a place name etc.
Contents of Company / LLP Name
Generally, name of the Company /LLP depicts its Trade Name or Brand Name along with its main activities. Name of a Company or LLP generally should contain a ‘Noun’ and an ‘Activity’ and the words Private Limited / Limited / LLP as the case may be.
In the case of a private limited company, the name shall end with words “Private Limited” or with word “Limited” in case of a public limited company and in case of an LLP, the name shall end with words “LLP”.
For Example ‘CompaniesInn Solutions Private Limited’. Here, ‘CompaniesInn’ stands as unique name, ‘Solutions’ refers to services/ activities, and ‘Private Limited’ refers to the mandatory requirement of last words for a Private Limited Company. Also, ‘CompaniesInn’ is a registered Trademark.
Single Name Companies / LLP’s
As of now, addition of an activity to a name is not a mandatory condition. As long as the proposed name is very unique or if you have a registered trademark, there are possibilities to get the Company / LLP name approved without addition of activity words to name.
Website Domain Name and Company / LLP Name
Registering a website Domain Name does not anyway guarantee the approval of Company or LLP Name. All the new entrepreneurs should understand the Differences of Company or LLP Name Trade Mark and Domain Name while naming the proposed business entity.
How to Choose a Name Wisely and Legally
The naming approach that ‘I/We like this Name’ or ‘I want this name for some reasons’ will may not fulfill the legal requirements of company / LLP Name Availability.
A promoter must ensure the proposed name is unique for ease of identification. As long as the name is very unique, there is more possibility of getting the same approved by office of ROC.
So, it is prudent for a new entrepreneur to follow certain basic polices while selection of name for proposed Company / LLP.
- Avoid Popular or Commonly used Words and General names
- Create Unique names of coined word by combining two words or names of promoters.
- Look around and see someone uses the Proposed Name
- Search names of existing Company / LLP at Ministry of Corporate Affairs
- Search names of existing Trademarks at Trademarks Registry
- Register Domain Name only after approval from ROC.
- Create Marketing Materials and Branding exercise after approval of Name by ROC.