Business Name Registration

Last Updated at: Oct 16, 2020
On 30 June 2020, the apex body of Consulting Engineers CEAI urged the government to allow the registration of Indian Consulting Engineers Companies under the category Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to be benefited from the various incentives announced for the sector.

If you are all set to start your own business, then remember that naming the brainchild is a very important step. You need to name the company carefully as it will predict your path and help you celebrate success. Over here, you will get your doubts regarding choosing a name for your business cleared.

“Names are stories. They predict your path. They celebrate you.”

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Since the Memorandum of any company, be it public or private cannot be filed without the name clause, there is the overarching importance of name registration. There may be several considerations for you – numerological associations, proximities of the name with the business activity (such as Speedo), fanciness (Whirlpool), appeal to a specific customer class (Lakme for cosmetics in India, from the Indian Goddess Lakshmi) or a characteristic of a product (Fastrack).

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What is not allowed?

Although there is no specific statute that provides what a name can include, which is largely driven by business considerations, the Companies Act provides for cancellation of name in certain situations:

    1. If the name is identical or resembles too closely, the name of another company. For example, there was a long drawn suit between the Ayurvedic manufacturer Amritdhara and another Ayurvedic medicine called Lakshmandhara for the same purpose. The court had rejected arguments like they do not sound alike and that Lakshman and Amrit had different meanings in Hindi.
    2. If the name gives out an impression that it is affiliated or has a connection with the Central Government. This virtually disqualifies all private companies from using a prefix like National, Central, State, Government, Union, Prime Minister, Judiciary, Federal etc. The Central Government also has power to cancel a name that has a word or an expression to give the impression that the company is in any way connected with, or having the patronage of, the Central Government, any State Government, or any local authority, corporation or body constituted under any law for the time being in force. Further, the name of a city or a combination of names of such cities/countries will be allowed only when such a relationship can be established or if there is a government to government participation between countries.
    3. The name may also be refused registration if it is considered undesirable. Although there is no settled legal position on this aspect, any name that is likely to be libellous, defamatory, opposes to public decency, morality or hurtful to any religion may be struck down under this clause. Names that attract section 3 of the Emblems and Names (Prevention and Improper Use) Act, 1950 (12 of 1950) are also considered undesirable.
    4. Under the new Companies act amendment, there is no need to ensure that the name of the company reflects the objectives/activities of the company. This means that a company can choose a name that may not directly bear consonance to their area of operation and no need to reflect a name change pursuant to changing objectives of the company.

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Checking if the proposed name is available:

Since a business’s identity is majorly associated with its name, you should ideally plan for getting your proposed name blocked in advance of your company registration process. You might have to revise the name if it appears or sounds alike another name. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs provides a database of all business names registered with it, which are categorised into several business activity types. You can check your name availability at

The Registrar reserves the name proposed for a period of 60 days. During this period, if it is found that the name was applied for with incorrect particulars, the name will not only be cancelled but a penalty of up to one lac rupees may be imposed.

What about trademarks and domain names?

Trademark name- A website maintained by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce provides an easy interface to check if your trademark name is available for use. Although it isn’t the only verification source, it’s a good idea to consult this before going ahead with your desired name. This web source can be accessed at

Similarly, for a domain name registration (for example, is a domain name owned by Facebook), a website maintained by NIXI, National Internet eXchange of India provides a database of existing domains and also helps you check if your desired domain name is available. This can be accessed at

Once you have chosen a name for your company after considering all the pros and cons, it is important to know if the proposed name is available. There should be none others who have chosen a similar name. So, make sure to block the name you have decided in advance. This is where the trademarks and domain names come to play.