Irish Company Names
Company names in Ireland must be pre-approved for availability and acceptability. The Companies Registration Office has an advanced electronic name reservation system.
Choosing a Company Name
A company name can be refused if:
- It is identical to or too similar in style to a name already appearing on the register of companies
- It is offensive
- It would suggest state sponsorship
- It is generally recommended that company names include extra words so as to create a sufficient distinction between names
- Certain words and their abbreviations, together with accents and punctuation marks, are not sufficient to distinguish between company names
- Place names are not considered to be a sufficient distinction between company names e.g. Ireland, Dublin, West etc
- Similar descriptive elements e.g. staff/employment agency, or the inclusion of only a general or weak qualification such as holding, group, systems, services, solutions, enterprises, international, etc. may not be regarded as a sufficient distinction between company names
- Names that are phonetically and/or visually similar will be refused. This includes names where there is a slight variation in the spelling and the variation does not make a significant difference between the names
- A number on its own will not be accepted as a sufficient distinguishing mark, unless the company concerned is part of the same group and a letter of association is provided
- If a name includes words which imply specific functions e.g. holding, group, further information may be required by the CRO to support the application
- Names containing certain words cannot be used unless approved by relevant bodies. These include the words bank, banc, banking, banker, insurance, re-insurance and assurance, society, co-op or co-operative, university, institute of technology, regional technical college
Sensitive Words in Company Names
The CRO does not check proposed names against names on the Business Names register or the Trade Mark register. The CRO will have to refuse a name if it:
- Identical or similar to a name already appearing on the Register of Companies.
- Suggests State sponsorship.
Restrictions and guidelines governing the registration of company names:
- It is recommended that company names include extra words so as to create a sufficient distinction between names as this will increase the possibility of the proposed name being accepted for registration.
- Certain words and their abbreviations together with accents and punctuation marks are not sufficient to distinguish between company names. Examples of such words include ‘company’, ‘co.’, ‘corporation’, ‘and’, ‘ &’, ‘service’, ‘services’, ‘limited’ ‘ltd’.
- Place names are not considered distinguishing e.g. Ireland, Dublin, East, etc. or words such as Global, Universal or International.
- Similar descriptive elements e.g. press/printing, staff/employment agency, or the inclusion in one name of only a general qualification such as ‘holding’, ‘group’, ‘system’, ‘services’, ‘solutions’ ‘enterprises’ ‘international’, etc. may not be regarded as a sufficient distinction between company names.
- Particular care should be taken with names consisting primarily of made-up words or non-dictionary words. The inclusion of qualifying words may not be sufficient to create a distinction between company names.
- Names which are phonetically and/or visually similar will be refused. This includes names where there is a slight variation in the spelling and the variation does not make a significant difference between the names.
- A number on its own will not be accepted as a sufficient distinguishing mark, unless the companies concerned are part of the same group and a letter of association is provided.
Names Approved by Relevant Bodies
- The words ‘University’ and “Institute of Technology” or “Technical College” cannot be used unless permission has been sought and granted from the Department of Education & Skills.
- This also applies to names such as “hollybank”, “sweetbank”, “canal bank”, “bankcorp” etc. and the surname “Banks”, not withstanding the fact that the company being incorporated may not intend to carry on banking business unless approval has been granted by the Central Bank.
- Words such as ‘insurance’, ‘re-insurance’ and ‘assurance’ cannot be used, unless prior permission has been sought and granted from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
- Words such as ‘society’, ‘co-op’ or ‘co-operative’ cannot be used unless prior permission has been sought and granted from the Registrar of Friendly Societies.
When using either Group, Holdings or International in your company name, most countries, including Ireland, expect the user to give evidence to justify the use of that name.
You will need to provide evidence of association with two or more limited companies.
If the name clearly shows that the company is to promote the interests of a group of individuals, then the name will normally be approved.
You will need to provide evidence of holding 50% of the share capital of another company.
If you wish to use this word as a prefix, you need to show that the major part of the company’s activities is in trading outside the country of incorporation. Approval is usually given to companies wishing to use this word when the company is involved in a trade that is international in character, such as travel or transport, provided that the name is not too misleading or likely to give rise to a justified complaint.
If you wish to use it as a suffix, approval will usually be given if you can show that its main activities are exports, or that it operates in more than one overseas country.
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