Sole Trader business names
I’ve read on the forum about Sole Trader’s being able to use a business name, as long as something like "Joe Bloggs trading as Acme Computer Services" is clearly referenced on any letters and documentation. Can anyone explain though whether the chosen business name has to be registered somewhere before it can be used?
Gavin – there is no need to register a sole trader trading name
James Smith [i]Chartered Accountant[/i] www.jamesesmith.co.uk --------------------------- Your indispensable guide to Small Business Bookkeeping, Self-Assessment & VAT
Excellent. Nice and easy then
Though, as mentioned before, there is no requirement for a sole trader to register the name, e.g. in Companies House, problems are likely to occur later on. I would actually appreciate some advice on protecting a business name as a sole trader (registering a trademark not an option as it’s very costly, I hear).
I first registered my business in my own name but later came up with a specific name. I checked it wasn’t used by anyone and contacted the Inland Revenue to let them know I wanted to change the name. I was told I only needed to tell them in my next tax return. So I happily started using a new name. As a sole trader I didn’t need to register it with Companies House so in fact my name was not registered anywhere.
A few months later, however, an Ltd company was formed with exactly the same name.
My question is – what can I do in a situation like that? Do I have to quit using the name (because it’s not registered)? If so, could changing it slightly be a solution? I’m not yet well-established, I’ve only worked for a few clients while working full-time elsewhere but I really like my name!
If I do change the name, how can I protect it from being used by another Ltd company again (or other sole traders)? Is forming a dormant Ltd company the only solution (if so, what are the costs invloved, roughly) ?
I’d be grateful for some suggestions.
There is actually NO credible register of business names in the UK!….. Although many organisations masquerade as ‘registers’ most (if not all!) fall down badly when tested. And in fact what most of these organisations are ACTUALLY selling is an over-priced and limited form of legal protection insurance….
There’s another almost exactly similarly named thread on the forum which addresses this very point. Look down the list for "sole trader business name"
Basically in this circumstance you would need to provide proof that you were ‘first past the post’ in terms of using the name and assert the position that the ‘new’ firm was in fact ‘passing off’
To protect your name you need to present evidence that it was in use by you at a particular point in time. In my other post I cite the example of being able to produce copy from a 1988 Yellow Pages….. And simple things like setting up the bank account with the business name as your ‘trading as’ name can provide firm evidence of your claim….
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OK, cheers Matt!