Company names – “same as” legislation

Companies House has complex rules regarding same / similar names, plurals, symbols and terms requiring justification.

Before even choosing a name you should check to ensure your chosen name is not the “same as” an existing name on the index of company names, or differs from one in only a trivial way.

Should you use Jordans as your company formation provider we will be able to check your company name on your behalf before you order.

To avoid problems later on, our check will include at least three different criteria:

  • Companies House database for official, up-to-date information checking identical names
  • Sensitive names and terms requiring justification or third party approval
  • An additional detailed check to take account of special character exclusions.

What is meant by “same as”?

If two company names are so similar they are likely to confuse the public as to which company is which, they are affected by the "same as" legislation.

There are dozens of words and characters that are either treated as being the same as each other or that will be ignored when comparing two names.

These include “and” and “&”, “plus” and “+”, “1” and “one”, “6” and “six”, “€” and “euro”, “$” and “dollar”, “%” and “percent”, “@” and “at”.

Two names that differ only because one includes the sign and the other includes the word will be treated as identical.

Similarly, if, for example, the only difference between two names if that one includes the word ‘services’ or the characters ‘.co.uk’ in the name whilst the other does not, those names will also be treated as identical. This is because the registrar will ignore such word and characters when considering whether two names are the same as each other.

Companies House has given the following examples on its website…

The name ‘Hands Limited’ is the “same as”:

  • Hand-S Limited (or Ltd);
  • H and S Public Limited Company (or PLC);
  • H & S Services Limited (or Ltd);
  • @H & S Limited (or Ltd);
  • Hands: Limited (or Ltd);
  • H & S Limited (or Ltd).

‘Catering Limited’ is the “same as”:

  • Catering UK Limited (or Ltd);
  • Catering.co.uk Limited (or Ltd);
  • Catering International Limited (or Ltd);
  • Catering Company (Services) Limited (or Ltd).

Exceptions to the “same as” rules

There is an exception to the “same as” rules for companies which are part of the same group.

This means that you can only register the proposed company name if you already control all of the companies shown in the “same as” list and can provide written evidence that none of these companies have an objection to you registering the new company name.

You’ll need to provide a letter from each company in the “same as” list on the companies' respective letterhead which confirms that:

  • The existing company is applying for the new company name;
  • The existing company has no objection to the new name being registered;
  • The two companies will be in the same group structure.

Each letter should be signed by an officer of the respective existing company.

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