Sensitive words in company names

When you order your company through us, we’ll:

  1. Check the name is available
  2. Check the name doesn’t contain sensitive words

For the majority of companies, there will be no problem with the name you have chosen. However, in some cases, there will already be a company on the register with a similar name.

1. Check the name is available

You can check if the name you want is available using Companies House’s WebCHeck service. If your name isn’t available, you won’t necessarily have to come up with something completely new, but you will have to make some changes. One example of a small change you can make is to add the city where you will be based, which will differentiate the company from one with a similar name.

There are certain words and symbols which Companies House disregards when differentiating between companies. These include letters with accents, plural ‘s’, punctuation marks, and words such as ‘UK’, ‘Wales’ and ‘company’. You should bear in this in mind when browsing WebCHeck for names similar to the one you want.

2. Check the name doesn’t contain sensitive words

You will need permission to use certain words and phrases in your company name, particularly if they could imply a connection to a government body or cause confusion as to the nature of the business. Recent examples we have had to seek permission for include ‘bank’, ‘prince’ and ‘charitable’. In many cases the company name you are choosing will cause no confusion to potential customers, and in these cases the process is straightforward and permission will be granted quickly.

If you are unsure about whether the name you have chosen is likely to be accepted, please contact us. We have a wealth of experience in registering companies, including those with sensitive words, and will be able to tell you which names are likely to be accepted and how the process works in terms of seeking permission. If Companies House require a letter or email of non-objection from a particular body or government department, we can apply for this on your behalf and then forward the reply directly to Companies House with your application to register your company. We might ask for additional information such as reasons why you want to use a sensitive word or documentation to support this.

The full list of sensitive words and related information can be found on the Companies House website.

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Filed under: FAQ