How to do a Companies House name check

If you are considering setting up a UK limited company it is important to do a Companies House name check.

Your company name is not allowed to be the same as another registered companies name and it is also not allowed to be similar to or the same as another companies name, but what does this mean exactly?

Here is a guide as to what is not allowed when choosing your company name:

  • Using only punctuation to differentiate from an existing name
  • You can’t use special characters such as a ‘plus sign’ to differentiate
  • You can’t make your limited company name too similar, Companies House give the example of ‘Dynamic Technology Ltd’ being too like ‘Dinamix Technology Ltd’

Companies House also stop you from using words that they deem to be sensitive, this list is regularly updated but you can find a current list from one of our recommended formations agents, Formations Direct.

The full guidance pack on company names and the restrictions around them can be found on Gov.UK

You can search for existing company names on the Companies House website here but we suggest doing a company name check using a reputable formation agent instead as many of them have developed their own limited company name checking tools that will easily tell you if there are any issues and often these are simpler to use than Companies House.

Formations Direct have a great company name check tool which we use, see the below screenshot:

Companies House Name Check

If we search, for example, for ‘Joe Bloggs Ltd’ it tells us that it is unavailable:

Company Name Not Available

But it does let us look through a list of similar limited company names so we can see why it’s not available.

Similar Names

Now let’s use the tool again to show you an example of a sensitive word being flagged up – let’s go with the word ‘Commission’ – if we do a company name check to see if the company name ‘Unknown Commission Ltd’ is available this is what it says:

Sensitive Word

The other thing to be aware of is that simply registering a company name does not mean that the name is then protected by trade mark, if you wanted to do this you would have to register a trade mark – you can read the Gov.UK guide on this topic.

You can search the existing trade mark directory to see if a name / brand similar to yours is already in existence or not.

If you are in the process of setting up a limited company we would strongly recommend you work through the process outlined above to do a Companies House name check, it will save you a lot of grief further down the line if you put the work in up front on this important decision.