It is important that persons forming companies satisfy themselves of the acceptability of the proposed name in advance of submission of documents to the CRO, bearing in mind that an objection may arise post-incorporation, which could result in the company being directed to change its name by the Registrar pursuant to section 30 Companies Act 2014.

Applicants are advised to check that the name proposed is not similar to one already registered by checking the register of companies using CORE.

The CRO does not check proposed company names against names on the business names register and the trade mark register. Applicants are, therefore, advised to check these registers to ensure that the proposed company name does not conflict with a business name or trade mark since any person claiming to have a right to that name could take an infringement action or a civil passing off action to protect his/her interest.

You can also check the register of business names free of charge, using the CORE.

You can undertake a search of the trade mark register at the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

This service is only available online at CORE. Registration with CORE is free.

The name can be reserved for 28 days and the cost of this application is €25.00. See Reserve Company Name page for more information.

The CRO may have to refuse a name, if:

  • it is identical or similar to a name already appearing on the register of companies;
  • it is offensive;
  • it would suggest state sponsorship.

Applicants are, therefore, advised not to incur expenses relating to the proposed name (e.g. preparing signs, headed note-paper, stationery, etc.) in advance of receipt of the certificate of incorporation which will be confirmation that the company is registered.

Please note also that Section 30 of the Companies Act 2014 states that if your chosen name is too similar to the name of another company, and is accepted for registration by the CRO, through inadvertence or otherwise, an objection on grounds of similarity could be made in writing to the Registrar of Companies within six months following the incorporation of your company and you could be directed by the Registrar to change the company name. In considering whether names are too alike, the Registrar will take account of all relevant factors suggesting similarity and leading to confusion between the names of the two companies.

If the Registrar, pursuant to section 30 Companies Act 2014, directs a company to change its name, such change must take place within six weeks of the date of the Registrar’s direction or such longer period as she may allow. A company that fails to comply with the direction will be eligible for prosecution.

The following guidelines are to assist in assessing the acceptability or otherwise of company names:

  • It is generally recommended that company names include extra words so as to create a sufficient distinction between names. Certain words and their abbreviations together with accents and punctuation marks are not sufficient to distinguish between company names. Examples of such words include the definite article and the words “company”, “co”, “corporation”, “and”, “&”, “service”, “services”, “limited”, etc. Place names are not considered to be a sufficient distinction between company names, e.g. Ireland, Dublin, West, etc.
  • Similar descriptive elements, e.g. press/printing, staff/employment agency, or the inclusion of only a general or weak qualification such as “holding”, “group”, “system”, “services”, “international”, etc. may not be regarded as a sufficient distinction between company names.
  • Particular care should be taken with names considered to have a distinctive element i.e. names consisting primarily of made-up words or non-dictionary words. The inclusion of qualifying words may not be sufficient to create a distinction between company names.
  • Names which are phonetically and/or visually similar will be refused. This includes names where there is a slight variation in the spelling and the variation does not make a significant difference between the names.
  • A number on its own will not be accepted as a sufficient distinguishing mark, unless the company concerned is part of the same group.
  • The use of a year in numerals to differentiate between two companies of otherwise the same name is prohibited.
  • Names containing certain words cannot be used unless approved by relevant bodies. For example, the words “bank”, “banker”, “banking”, “banc”, may only be used with the permission of the Central Bank of Ireland. This also applies to names such as “hollybank”, “sweetbank”, “canal bank”, “bancorp”, etc. and the surname “Banks” not withstanding the fact that the company may not intend to carry on banking business.
  • Words such as “society”, “co-op”, “co-operative” or “Union” cannot be used unless prior permission has been sought from and granted by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.
  • The words “University”(Ollscoil), “Regional Technical College”(Ceardcholáiste Réigiúnach) and “Institute of Technology” (Institiúid Teicneolaíochta) cannot be used unless permission has been sought from and granted by the Department of Education.
  • If a name includes words which imply specific functions e.g. “holding company”, “group” etc., further information may be required by the CRO to support the application.
  • In the case of the word “Charity”, further information may be sought by the CRO to support the application.
  • The use of the word “standard” is prohibited.
  • The word “architect” either alone or in combination with any other words or letters, or name, title or description implying that the person is so registered, cannot be used unless a Notice of Determination has been issued by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). This does not apply to the names “landscape architect”, “naval architect”, “architectural technician”, “architectural technologist”, and “interior design architect” and similar terms.
  • Please note that there may be a requirement for some management companies to include Owners’ Management Company in the company name. S.14(3) of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 provides that the words “owners’ management company” shall be included in the name of every owner’s management company to which this section applies, which words may be abbreviated to “OMC”. S14(4) “This section applies to owners’ management companies of multi unit developments in respect of which no contract for the sale of a residential unit has been entered into prior to the enactment of this Act”. Section 14 was commenced on 24th January 2011.
  • Further clarification may be sought for use of the words “Chamber of Commerce”. Permission from Chambers Ireland may be required.
  • Only the name of a Societas Europaea can be preceded or followed by the abbreviation SE. Use of the term ‘SE’ at the beginning or end of the name designates that it is a European Company.

Under the Companies Act 2014, company types are included at the end of the name of the company unless exempted. Company types: Only companies which are particular company types may have the following words in their name:-

  • Limited (ltd) – Teoranta (teo)
  • Public Limited Company (plc) – Cuideachta Phoiblí Teoranta (cpt)
  • Designated Activity Company (dac) – Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe (cga)
  • Company Limited by Guarantee (clg) – Cuideachta faoi Theorainn Ráthaíochta (ctr)
  • Unlimited company (uc) – Cuideachta Neamhtheoranta (cn).

Every business must paint or affix its name on the outside of every office or place in which the business is carried on, even if it is a directors home. The name must be both conspicuous and legible.

In addition, the company must state its name, in legible lettering, on company letter heads, order forms, invoices, etc. For further information on the statutory requirements, see Letterheads.

Incorporating a company with limited liability without including the company type “Designated Activity Company” or “Company Limited by Guarantee” at the end of the company’s name

The phrases “Designated Activity Company” or “Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe” (See Section 971 Companies Act 2014) or “Company Limited by Guarantee” or “Cuideachta faoi theorainn Ráthaíochta” (See Section 1180 Companies Act 2014) may be dropped from the company’s name where:

    (a) its objects are the promotion of commerce, art, science, education, religion, charity or any other prescribed object, and

    (b) its constitution:
    i) require its profits (if any) or other income to be applied to the promotion of its objects,
    ii) prohibit the payment of dividends to its members, and
    iii) require all the assets which would otherwise be available to its members to be transferred on its winding up to another company whose objects comply with paragraph (a) and which meets the requirements of this paragraph, and

    (c) a director or secretary of the company (or, in the case of an association about to be formed as a limited company, one of the persons who are to be the first directors or the person who is to be the first secretary of the company) has delivered to the Registrar of Companies a statement in the prescribed form that the company complies or, where applicable, will comply with the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) above.

The Registrar will refuse to register as a DAC limited by shares or by guarantee, any association about to be formed as a limited company by a name which does not include the word “Designated Activity Company” or “Cuideachta Ghníomaíochta Ainmnithe” unless a statement pursuant to (c) above has been delivered.

The Registrar will refuse to register as a CLG, Company Limited by Guarantee, any association about to be formed as a limited company by a name which does not include the word “Company Limited by Guarantee” or “Cuideachta faoi theorainn Ráthaíochta” unless a statement pursuant to (c) above has been delivered.

Section 971(4)/1180(4) provides that a company which was exempt, pursuant to section 24(1) Companies Act 1963 (as amended), from including the company type in its name is prohibited from altering its constitution so that it ceases to comply with the requirements of section 971(1)/1180(1).

Section 971(5)/1180(5) provides that if it comes to the Registrar’s attention that a company which has claimed the exemption from using the company type has carried on any business other than the promotion of any of its objects, or has applied any of its profits or other income otherwise than in promoting such objects, or has paid a dividend to any of its members, the Registrar may in writing direct the company to change its name within such period as may be specified in the direction so that its name ends with the relevant company type and the change of name shall be made by the company in accordance with section 30 Companies Act 2014.

A person who provides incorrect, false or misleading information in the statement furnished pursuant to section 971(1)(c)/1180(1)(c), or alters its constitution in contravention of section 971(4)/1180(4), or fails to comply with a direction from the Registrar under section 971(5)/1180(5), shall be guilty of a category 3 offence, prosecutable in the District Court by the Registrar.

A reduced rate of tax may apply in the case of a company which is precluded by its constitution from distribution of any part of its profits among its members. This is a matter for decision by Revenue. Please note that if a company wishing to avail of the section 971/1180 exemption also intends to seek charitable status from Revenue, the main object of the company must be charitable and a specific clause must also be inserted in its memorandum of association.

New Company
Applicants should furnish the following documents, all of which must be filed together, to the CRO in respect of a company which is applying for incorporation:

  • Form G5 (declaration of compliance)
  • Form A1 (application for incorporation)
  • Bond (if there is no European Economic Area-resident director)
  • A clear print of the constitution containing the original signatures of the members of the proposed company.

Existing Company
Applicants in respect of a company that is already formed, i.e. which has already registered a constitution with the CRO and obtained a certificate of incorporation, should furnish to the CRO the following documents, all of which must be filed together:

  • Manual G1Q in relation to the change of name
  • Form G5 (declaration of compliance)
  • A clear copy of the amended constitution
  • As the company is changing its name to delete the company type, the company should file Form G1 in relation to the amendment of the constitution of the company online with a copy of the amended constitution.

It is not the function of the Registrar of Companies to ensure that the constitution of a company is framed so as to express the intentions of the members/proposed members.

Once incorporated, a company can change its name. Please see Change of Name page