Names availability policy

You are advised not to incur expenses relating to the proposed name (e.g. preparing signs, headed notepaper, stationery, etc.) in advance of receipt of the certificate of incorporation that will confirm that the company has been registered with the chosen name.
There are restrictions on your choice of company name. The name may be refused if:
  • it is identical to or too similar to a name already appearing on the register of companies
  • it is offensive
  • it would suggest state sponsorship.

The following guidelines will assist you 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.

The following restrictions also apply to company names:
  • Names containing certain words cannot be used unless approved by relevant bodies. For example, the words “bank”, “banc”, “banking”, “banker” 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 being incorporated may not intend to carry on banking business.
  • Words such as “insurance”, ”re-insurance” and “assurance” cannot be used unless prior permission has been sought from and granted by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA).
  • The word “society”, “co-op” or “co-operative” cannot be used unless permission has been sought from and granted by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.
  • The words “University” and “Institute of Technology” or “Regional Technical College” cannot be used unless permission has been sought from and granted by the Department of Education.
  • In the case of the word “Charity”, further information may be sought by the CRO to support the application.
  • If a name includes words which imply specific functions, e.g. “holding”, “group”, etc., further information may be required by the CRO to support the application.
  • The use of the word “standard” is prohibited.