A simple yet important task is choosing a company name! CRO have strict rules regarding choosing a company name, The name has to be sufficiently distinguishing from a company that has already been registered or if a company has been dissolved the name is not available for 20 years. The name cannot be guaranteed until CRO have registered the company and issued the Certificate of Incorporation.

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 a civil passing off action to protect his/her interest.

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.

CRO Company Name Guidelines

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

  • 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” or “co-operative” 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 ” 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.

Company Suffix

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).

Exemption from use of Company Type Suffix

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 “Company Limited by Guarantee” may be dropped from the company’s name where the objects of the company will be the promotion of commerce, art, science, education, religion or charity. In addition, the company’s memorandum or articles of association must state that:

  • the profits of the company (if any) or other income are required to be applied to the promotion of the objects;
  • payment of dividends to its members is prohibited;
  • all assets which would otherwise be available to its members are required to be transferred on its winding up to another company whose objects are the promotion of commerce, art, science, religion or charity.

It should be noted, however, that a company which is exempt from the obligation to use the company type as part of its name is still obliged to show on its letters and order forms the fact that it is such a company.


Please Note:

Our CLS Insights aims to bring you practical information and news on Company Law and Company Secretarial. We cover the topics that matter to your business and give practical tips and also the benefit our experiences. Please remember this article is a guide and legal advice should always be obtained. If you have any queries please contact one of the team and we would be happy to help.

How Can CLS Help

If you would like to check a company name drop us an email and we can check if the name might be available. Please contact one of the team on 059 9186776 or formations@clscs.ie

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