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Company Name vs Trading Name

Limited company names are like website addresses – there can only be one of each. If you want to set up Delicious Cakes Ltd, you’ll probably find some enterprising baker has already registered it. However, all is not lost.

Limited companies can use trading names, meaning that you can still trade as Delicious Cakes as long as you’re not infringing another company’s trademark. But how do you do this?

Very simply, actually. Unlike company names, trading names do not require registration. All you have to do is invent one, and make sure you’re not in breach of trademark (You can search for potential conflicts on the Intellectual Property Office website). At the bottom of all your paperwork (invoices etc.) make sure you display your correct company name, like so:

Delicious Cakes is a trading name of Reconstituted Meat Desserts Ltd.

Trading names also allow you to have multiple functions for a single limited company. For example you may be a freelance web designer who also does SEO work. Under the limited company Super-Duper Web Design Ltd. you could operate two trading names – Super-Duper Design, and Super-Duper SEO.

So, if some rotter has already registered your perfect limited company name, don’t fret – you can still use a trading name to keep hold of your identity!

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