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Can I choose whatever company name I want?

Yes! Well, actually no. Companies House impose certain restrictions on words used in Company Names. For example, you cannot call your company Her Majesty’s Royal Web Design Ltd., as you are more than likely not the Queen, or affiliated with the royal family in any way.

Other protected terms include those that would denote some form of qualifications such as “Accredited”, “Chartered”, or “Institute” – unless of course you actually have the right to use those names (usually in the form of a letter of authorisation from the relevant body).

You also cannot (and this one is pretty obvious) use the name of any public bodies, such as “Council”, “HMRC”, or “Home Office”.

If you wish to use one of these terms in your company name, the incorporation process becomes somewhat more complicated as you must submit paperwork to Companies House proving you have the right to do so. As we like to keep things simple, we don’t support such functionality – sorry!

For the full list of protected terms, and the conditions you must satisfy in order to use them, see this Companies House page.

There are also limitation on what characters you can use in your company name. You can read the complete rules presented in glorious legalese in this PDF. The general jist of it is to stick to letters and numbers, however other characters (such as £, $ and @) are also permitted. Some characters (such as # or %) are permitted, but may not appear in the first three characters. It’s fairly in-depth, and worth reading up on before you decide on a company name.

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