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Incorporating an LLP
Members and designated members
Choosing an LLP name
Sensitive words and expressions
Change of LLP name
Objections to an existing LLP name
Disclosure of the LLP name and other information
Quality of documents
Further information

Objections to an existing LLP name

1. Could I have to change my LLP name after incorporation?

In general, an LLP can keep its registered name for ever. However an LLP can be required to change its name:

within 12 months of the adoption of the name, if the Secretary of State upholds an objection that a newly-adopted name is ‘too like’ an already existing name or if the name was incorrectly registered because it is the ‘same as’ an existing LLP name. Any objection must be made in writing within 12 months of the LLP’s date of the registration of the name. If such an objection is upheld, then the LLP must change its name as directed and deliver the required documents within 12 weeks of the date of the direction. Further information on ‘too like’ names is provided in question 2.
within 5 years of the LLP’s adoption of the name, if misleading information has been given for the purposes of registration by a particular name for example for the approval of a sensitive name;
within 5 years of the LLP’s adoption of the name, if an undertaking or assurance given at the time of registration, for example support for a sensitive name has not been fulfilled;
at any time, if the Company Names Adjudicator upholds an objection that the name is the same as one in which the objector has goodwill or is so similar to such a name that its use in the UK would be likely to suggest a connection between the LLP and the objector. Such an objection will be upheld if the objector shows that the main purpose in registering the name was to obtain money or other consideration from him or to prevent his registering the name. (It may also be upheld if none of certain other matters have happened or apply).
at any time, if the name gives so misleading an indication of the nature of its activities that it is likely to cause harm to the public.

2. What does 'too like' mean?

When considering whether one LLP name is ‘too like’ an existing LLP name, Companies House only considers the visible appearance or sound of the two names. We do not take into account external factors such as geographic location, trading activities, share ownership or whether an LLP is dormant. In addition we take no account of a name or part of a name that is a registered trade mark.

Normally, if the names differ by only a few characters or minor differences they are likely to be ‘too like’, for example, H & S Consultants LLP and H & S Consulting LLP. Most examples of “too like” names also suggest a certain level of confusion.

If the names differ by one or more words, especially longer descriptive words they are unlikely to be ‘too like'. For example, an existing LLP, H & S Consultants LLP might justifiably complain that the registration of H & S Consultants (Cardiff) LLP is a cause of confusion. This might be the case but the names are not ‘too like’ under the Companies Act and we would be unlikely to issue a direction in these circumstances.

3. How do I object to an LLP’s name?

If you wish to object to an LLP’s name, for example because its similarity to your name may lead to confusion, you must do so within 12 months of the LLP being incorporated by writing to:

If the LLP is registered in England and Wales, or Wales If the LLP is registered in Scotland If the LLP is registered in Northern Ireland
The Secretary of State
New Companies
Companies House
Crown Way
Cardiff CF14 3UZ

DX33050 Cardiff The Secretary of State
New Companies
Companies House
4th Floor
Edinburgh Quay 2
139 Fountainbridge
Edinburgh EH3 9FF
LP - 4 Edinburgh 2 (Legal Post) or
DX ED235 Edinburgh 1

Tel: +44 (0)303 1234 500 (national call rate)
Fax: 029 20380900

The Secretary of State
New Companies
Companies House
First Floor
Waterfront Plaza
8 Laganbank Road

DX 481 N.R. Belfast 1
You should write to the appropriate registrar depending on where the LLP name you are objecting to was registered.

4. How are ‘too like’ objections dealt with?

If, following an objection we intend to direct an LLP to change its name we will write to the LLP to explain the nature of the objection and the limited scope for appeal. We will also inform the complainant of the action taken. If we reject the LLP’s appeal we will issue a direction requiring it to change its name within 12 weeks. If we accept the LLP’s appeal we will confirm this in writing to all parties.

5. Can Companies House reject a 'too like' name when an LLP files its application to register the LLP?

No. You can only make objections on grounds of ‘too like’ after Companies House has registered the LLP. We can only reject ‘same as’ names before registration. Not all potentially ‘too like’ names result in an objection.

To avoid the possibility of a ‘too like’ objection, we advise applicants to make a search of the Index of Company Names before they apply to form an LLP or change the name of an existing LLP. Having a 'too like' name could also result in:

confusion with other LLPs or companies, which may have a poor filing or
a 'passing off' action under civil law; or
action for trade mark infringement.
We do not consult the Trade Marks Register when considering an application for an LLP name. Consequently, if there is a trade mark registration which is identical or similar to the LLP name you have chosen and you are in the same type of business you may face legal action for a trade mark infringement. For further advice, including how to search the trade marks register contact the UK Intellectual Property office.

6. Objection on grounds of Opportunistic Registration

Any individual or LLP can apply to the Company Names Tribunal for an LLP to be directed to change its name if they can show that the name was chosen with the principal intention of seeking money from him or preventing him registering the name where it is one in which he has previously acquired reputation or goodwill.

The Company Names Tribunal (also known as the ‘Company Names Adjudicator’) is responsible for handling complaints about opportunistic registration. Further information, including application forms and contact information is available on their website.

Please note: Companies House cannot deal with any complaints about opportunistic registration.