20 February 2015

Can I use the word “Group” in the company name?

I intend to rename my company and I would like to use the word “Group” in the name, but I’ve been told that I can only do that if my company satisfies certain requirements.

I’ve also been told that the word “Group” would be disregarded when checking the availability of the new name, so if there is another company which would have the same name apart for the word “Group”, I would not be able to use this name. Is this right?

The rules and how they have changed

The rules surrounding the use of company names in England and Wales have changed in the last few years, relaxing the restrictions on the use of certain words and effectively making a wider range of names available to companies.

Previously, the word “Group” was regarded as a sensitive word, which meant that a company could only use the word within its name if it satisfied certain conditions. But after January 2015, the conditions surrounding the use of certain sensitive words (including the word “Group”) were removed, which means that, provided the proposed company name is not already registered, you would be able to use the word “Group” freely.  So you don’t have to have a group structure with two or more companies to use the word “Group” in your company name.

What about the clash with another existing company name?

Previously, the word “Group” was regarded as a silent word, which meant that if another name would be the same as the proposed name, apart from the word “Group”, the proposed name would be considered the same as the existing company name and you would not be able to use it.

However, the word “Group” is no longer deemed to be a silent word, which means that if the proposed name would be the same as an existing company name but for the word “Group”, this would no longer prevent you from registering the name. The changes have been implemented for a wide range of words (including “international” and “holding”) and the recent changes give you much more freedom and choice as to the range of company names available to you.

For more information on this and a wide range of corporate law issues, contact Alison Scott at ascott@hcrlaw.com

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Alison Scott, Partner
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