Your business name matters:
why choosing the right name can make or break your startup

Your business name is likely to be a crucial element in establishing your brand’s identity. It’s important to choose a name that reflects your brand’s values, is legally available and can be protected.

A strong business name can help your business stand out in a competitive market, build trust with customers and partners and create a memorable brand that resonates with your target audience.

As your business grows, your business name becomes even more critical as it becomes a recognisable symbol of your reputation, quality and trustworthiness.

Protecting your business name can prevent others from imitating it, increase the value of your business and make it more attractive to potential investors and buyers.

Our unique search tool is the first step in establishing whether your business name is viable and available to be registered and protected.


Use our search tool to see whether your chosen business name is available.


Our Business Name Packages include additional searches and checks to ensure there is no infringement should your business name be registered.


Our unique service provides our clients with protection against “passing off” (name copying) and the associated reputational/goodwill/trading damage that this causes. In the event of a passing off case, will cover the first £10,000* of legal costs (internally and externally) to fight the case on your behalf. * See Terms and Conditions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Whether you’ve been trading a while, or you’re just starting up, registering your business name with will ensure you are protected from ‘passing off’, with our guarantee to cover your fees and representation, should action be required. Here’s all you need to know

How long does the registration last?

Registration is renewable on an annual basis. A renewal notice will be sent to you before your registration expires or you can set up a direct debit for your plan to automatically renew. Alternatively, 2- or 5-year protection plans are available with associated discounts.

How long does it take to register my name?

Registration takes 2 business days from receipt of your application form and payment.

How can I protect my business name?

Registration with specifically provides protection against “passing off”, the common law term used to describe copying of a trading name by another business. Your annual subscription means you have peace of mind when it comes to safeguarding your business’ identity. We will instigate and pay for all necessary legal proceedings in protecting your business name using our solicitors and counsel where necessary up to the value of the package that you have chosen.

Are there any words I cannot use in my name?

There are a number of restricted words, which need to be approved for use by the Department for Business and Trade. Restricted words or terms are usually phrases associated with already established official bodies, for example, government departments, health care organisations or other public services. If a restricted word is being used appropriately for your business we will gain permission on your behalf for use of this “restricted” word. If you have any queries regarding possible restricted words, please do contact us before applying.

What happens if my name is already in use?

We will work with you to search for alternative names free of charge.

What is passing off?

“Passing off” happens when someone deliberately or unintentionally passes off their own goods or services as those belonging to someone else. This action of misrepresentation often damages the goodwill of a person or business, causing financial or reputational damage. An example of this would be if business “XYZ Entertainers” established their service in the West Midlands, then a new business starts trading, calling themselves “XYZ of Birmingham”. Customers begin to book the new business believing it to be the previous one, which has a good reputation. 

The potential outcome here is either damage to the reputation of the original business, “XYZ Entertainers”, if “XYZ of Birmingham” provides poor service, or financial loss because the confusion causes customers to book with the wrong company. 

Raising a passing off claim can help you prevent other people from using the goodwill associated with your business for their own benefit and in turn prevents damage to your business’ reputation.

There are 3 elements which must be established when claiming for passing off:

  1. Goodwill - You must prove that you have a “reputation” that the public associates with your specific product or service.
  2. Misrepresentation - You must show that the other business passing off their business as yours has caused confusion, deceived or misled customers into believing that their goods and services are actually yours.
  3. Damage - You must prove that the misrepresentation has damaged or is likely to damage your goodwill, or cause actual or foreseeable loss, whether that be financial or reputational.
What do I need to do to register?

Search your business name here and then apply online here. Once registered, we will send you a certificate of registration which, when displayed, meets all the requirements of Section 1200–1206 Companies Act 2006.

Can I register my name without becoming a limited company?

Yes, we can register your business name whatever the status of your firm, giving you protection and peace of mind.

How do Start.Biz check that my name is available?

We carry out comprehensive searches against all active limited companies, all existing domains and additional business name checks, including our internal Business Names register.

Search Your Business Name Now

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