Naming guidelines: Undesirable names – Rule 8A

The draft rules under the Companies Act, 2013 provide clear guidelines for naming different types of companies, like Private Limited Companies, One Person Companies, and Limited Companies. For a company’s name to be approved for incorporation, it must meet two main criteria: it must be unique and desirable. Accordingly, the Companies Act, 2013 outlines these guidelines in three rules, one of which is described below where it is listed out about the names which are considered as undesirable names:

Naming guidelines as per Rule 8A under the Companies Act, 2013;

  1. The name shall be considered undesirable, if-

    a) It attracts the provisions of section 3 of the Emblems and Names (Prevention and Improper Use) Act, 1950 (12 of 1950);

    b) Subject to section 35 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (47 of 1999), if the name includes a trade mark registered under the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (47 of 1999) and the rules framed thereunder in the same class of goods or services in which the activity of the company is being carried out or is proposed to be carried out, unless the consent of the owner or applicant for registration, of the trade mark, as the case may be, has been obtained and produced by the promoters;

    c) It includes any word or words which are offensive to any section of the people; 

    d) The proposed name is identical with or too nearly resembles the name of a limited liability partnership: Provided that the provisions of rule 8 shall apply mutatis mutandis while determining whether a proposed name is too nearly resembling the name of a limited liability partnership; 

    e) The proposed name is identical with or too nearly resembles with a name which is for the time being reserved in accordance with rule 9: Provided that the provisions of rule 8 shall apply mutatis mutandis while determining whether a proposed name is too nearly resembling with a reserved name; 

    f) The company’s main business is financing, leasing, chit fund, investments, securities or combination thereof, but the proposed name is not indicative of such related financial activities, viz., Chit Fund or Investment or Loan, etc.; 

    g) The company’s name is indicative of activities financing, leasing, chit fund, investments, securities or combination thereof, but the company’s main business is not related to such activities; 

    h) It resembles closely the popular or abbreviated description of an existing company or limited liability partnership;

    I) The proposed name is identical with or too nearly resembles the name of a company or limited liability partnership incorporated outside India and reserved by such company or limited liability partnership with the Registrar: Provided that if a foreign company is incorporating its subsidiary company in India, then the original name of the holding company as it is may be allowed with the addition of word India or name of any Indian state or city, if otherwise available; Provided further that provisions of rule 8 shall apply mutatis mutandis while determining whether a proposed name is too nearly resembling the name of a company or limited liability partnership incorporated outside India; 

    j) Any part of the proposed name includes the words indicative of a separate type of business constitution or legal person or any connotation thereof e.g. cooperative, sehkari, trust, LLP, partnership, society, proprietor, HUF, firm, Inc., PLC, GmbH, SA, PTE, Sdn, AG etc.; Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-clause, it is hereby clarified that the name including phrase ‘Electoral Trust’ may be allowed for Registration of companies to be formed under section 8 of the Act, in accordance with the Electoral Trusts Scheme, 2013 notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT): Provided that name application is accompanied with an affidavit to the effect that the name to be obtained shall be only for the purpose of registration of companies under Electoral Trust Scheme as notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes; 

    k) The proposed name contains the words ‘British India’; 

    l) The proposed name implies association or connection with an embassy or consulate or a foreign government; 

    m) The proposed name includes or implies association or connection with or patronage of a national hero or any person held in high esteem or important personages who occupied or are occupying important positions in Government; 

    n) The proposed name is identical to the name of a company dissolved as a result of liquidation proceeding and a period of two years have not elapsed from the date of such dissolution: Provided that if the proposed name is identical with the name of a company which is struck off in pursuance of action under section 248 of the Act or under section 560 of the Companies Act, 1956(1 of 1956) then the same shall not be allowed before the expiry of twenty years from the publication in the Official Gazette being so struck off; 

    o) It is identical with or too nearly resembles the name of a limited liability partnership in liquidation or the name of a limited liability partnership which is struck off up to a period of five years; 

    p) The proposed name include words such as ‘Insurance’, ‘Bank’, ‘Stock Exchange’, ‘Venture Capital’, ‘Asset Management’, ‘Nidhi’, ‘Mutual fund’ etc., unless a declaration is submitted by the applicant that the requirements mandated by the respective regulator, such as IRDA, RBI, SEBI, MCA etc. have been complied with by the applicant;

    q) The proposed name includes the word “State”, in case the company is not a government company; 

    r) The proposed name is containing only the name of a continent, country, state, city such as Asia limited, Germany Limited, Haryana Limited, Mysore Limited; 

    s) Use of descriptive names, where the name merely consists of commonly used words to describe an activity. 

    Explanation 1: The term “commonly used words” refers to use of generic expressions which may be used by any other company to describe its trade.

    Explanation 2: While determining whether a name is descriptive or not, the objects of the proposed company or the order of words appearing in a name shall not be relevant.

     

    Illustrations 

    (i) The names Silk Manufacturers Private Limited and Manufacturers Silk Ltd. are descriptive names as they merely describe an activity which may also be carried out by any other company and the order of the words is not relevant while determining a descriptive name. 

    (ii) The names Technical Vista Ltd or Vista Technical are not descriptive as the names do not merely consist of commonly used words and the order of the words is not relevant while determining whether a name is descriptive. 

    (iii) The name Drinking Water Plant Ltd. is a descriptive name, even if the object of the company is not related to making drinking water plant as it consists of commonly used words and objects of the proposed company is not relevant while determining whether a name is descriptive.

    t) The proposed name includes name of any foreign country or any city in a foreign country, the same shall be allowed if the applicant produces any proof of significance of business relations with such foreign country like Memorandum Of Understanding with a company of such country: Provided that the name combining the name of a foreign country with the use of India like India Japan or Japan India shall be allowed if, there is a government to government participation or patronage and no company shall be incorporated using the name of an enemy country. Explanation.- For the purposes of this clause, enemy country means so declared by the Central Government from time to time. 

    u) The proposed name of a section 8 company under the Act does not include the words foundation, Forum, Association, Federation, Chambers, Confederation, council, Electoral trust and the like etc.

    v) The proposed name of a Nidhi company under the Act does not have the last words “Nidhi Limited” as a part of its name.

    w) The proposed name has been released from the register of companies upon change of name of a company and three years have not elapsed since the date of change unless a specific direction has been received from the competent authority in the course of compromise, arrangement and amalgamation. 

     

  2. The applicant shall declare in affirmative or negative (to affirm or deny) whether they are using or have been using in the last five years , the name applied for incorporation of company or LLP in any other business constitution like Sole proprietor or Partnership or any other incorporated or unincorporated entity and if, yes details thereof and No Objection Certificate from other partners and associates for use of such name by the proposed Company or LLP, as the case may be, and also a declaration as to whether such other business shall be taken over by the proposed company or LLP or not.

The naming guidelines in the Companies Act, 2013 ensure that new company names are unique and desirable. These rules help avoid market confusion, protect trademarks, and maintain a professional image. By following these guidelines, businesses can create a strong and legal brand identity that reflects their values. Choosing the right name is an important first step in starting a company and sets the stage for future success.

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This document is intended for informational purposes and provides a general overview of the naming guidelines for company registration in India as per the Companies Act, 2013. It should not be construed as legal advice. Entities and individuals must consult legal experts to ensure compliance with the specific legal requirements and interpretations of the Act.

Prepared by
Mr. Smruti Ranjan Sahoo
(B. Com., LL.B)

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