Name is the essence of identity. We need a name to be identified which distinguishes us from others. In case of we humans it is searched and identified at our birth or even before and is assigned to us on specially  celebrated day called as ‘namkaran Sanskar’ in hindu mythology by a religious scholar, in other religions too with little deviation in format and style.

We can also witness the recent nationwide agitation and government reform initiative with regard to CAA & NRC, which itself moves around the identity proof or identity crisis. It’s all good enough to draw our attention towards the importance of name in one’s personal life, society, country and governmental departmental authorities and in its records, along with ranging from telephone connection to driving license, Aadhaar card etc.

Similarly when we enter into business world, we need to have a name for our business too, whether it is a proprietorship firm or partnership firm or a company or a trust or a charitable society or trade union or any other professional or business entity.

In all other formats of business except company or LLP, we have comparatively wider window to decide on the name with limited restrictions to use of words or names primarily which are in conflict of trademarks and brand names already existed or registered in the name of others. However companies Act specifically provides for certain rule and prohibitions in use of words and letters, which should be avoided while selecting the name of one’s business entity in company or LLP format.

Name selection is in itself a philosophy which describes a lot about one’s business or nature or thought process. It may be a reflection of business entity’s DNA or its promoters or its vision or may be simply a name just for the sake of it. It varies with one’s own perspective to it while a roadmap is given by the companies act as to which and what words in which format can’t be used for name selection of a company or LLP.

Let’s come to the crux of the matter, as to, how the companies act give protection to the name holder from creation of another entity with same or similar name by someone else anywhere in India.

1. We can’t take the name which is Hindi or English translation of an existing name of company or LLP.

2. Ram & Shyam LLP / co. cannot be created if Shyam & Ram is already in existence i.e. rearrangement of words.

3. Addition of ‘New, Nav, Modern, Shree, Shri, Sri, Om, Jai , Sia Etc in the name of existing company/LLP does not give rise to registration of a new entity.

4. If is a name assigned to an entity then or .edu or .gov or .in does not give rise to an another separate entity.

5. With the same phonetic sound but with different spellings are too not allowed. i.e. P Q Industries or Pee Que Industries

6. By changing the tense of word or joining and separating the words i.e. SitaRam and Sita Ram or plural versions i.e. Sky or Skies and lower case or upper case of words are not allowed under companies act.

7. Any variation of Pvt, Private, (P) or company, Co., corporation etc not give rise to any new entity. ­­­­­­­­­­­

One interesting fact that, one can’t use the following in the name of company, which have constitutional connotation –

  • Board;
  • Commission;
  • Authority;
  • Undertaking;
  • National;
  • Union;
  • Central;
  • Federal;
  • Republic;
  • President;
  • Rashtrapati;
  • Small Scale Industries;
  • Khadi and Village Industries Corporation;
  • Financial, Corporation and the like;
  • Municipal;
  • Panchayat;
  • Development Authority;
  • Prime Minister or Chief Minister;
  • Minister;
  • Nation;
  • Forest corporation;
  • Development Scheme;
  • Statute or Statutory;
  • Court or Judiciary
  • Governor
  • Use of word- ‘Scheme’ with the name of Government or State or India or Bharat
  • Bureau

One more interesting fact is that, previous name of any company can also not be used for 3 years from the date of change even by the group company except in case of amalgamation or arrangement etc.

However if the name is already being used or have been used previously by the applicant in last year 5 years in other business constitution like- proprietorship firm partnership firm, then it can be applied subject to NoC from partners or associates, subject to availability and other criteria mentioned herein.

Thus we could make out by now that as much as it is important to have a name, it is equally important to design or choose it in conformity with the permissible periphery of available permutations and combination keeping the restrictive words beyond the ambit of name selection.

The story does not end here. There are certain indicative exclusions too from the name, if-

  • It resembles to the popular or abbreviate name of a company or LLP in India
  • It is identical or nearly resembles to the name of company or LLP incorporated outside India and it is reserved by such company or LLP with Registrar in India. However if any subsidiary company is being registered in India then it’s holding company name with addition of word India or any Indian State or City may be allowed.

Vice e versa is too allowed, if the applicant uses the name of foreign country, state or city then, he need to produce a business relationship with that country or city or state.

Alongside combination of country names, for example India German or Indo German may be used if government is participatory in it except enemy country.

  • Any word which denotes the other business constitution such as proprietorship, society, sehkari, trust, co-operative etc. is not desired to be used to give a falsified impression
  • “British India” is denied in entirety
  • It is a generic name without use of any identifiable word such as – silk Industries or cotton mills or it contains name of only Continent, state, country etc such as Asia Limited, Japan Ltd
  • It is not a government company and uses the word ‘State’

Interestingly First alphabet of the promoters name also not to be used in isolation without reference to relevant suffix such as Aditya, Mohan Ramesh as AMR Ltd but can be used as AMR Paper industries.

One should avoid the name resembling with the patronage of National hero or person occupying the important governmental position or name connecting with consulate or embassy.

With all these above said precautions in deciding the business entity name one important consideration is resemblance to the registered trade mark of the entity. If it is resembles to any existing trademark it may get approved by the Registrar authority but shall be subject to subsequent litigation by the existing trade owner.

The way, our personal name goes lifelong with us, the same way business name goes a long way, with the existence of business itself and even beyond.

The name should be a depiction of our thoughts our philosophy of business, our vision for business or related to promoters or the business stream and definitely it should be in resonance with the regulatory framework being the responsible promoters and responsible business.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA in Practice
Company: Advadt Advisory
Location: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, IN
Member Since: 23 Jun 2020 | Total Posts: 1
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March 2021