There are over a thousand and one reasons why you need to start a business. Aside from the fact that it can generate extra income for you, it is a secured career that will end only when you decide it to plus, you get to put food on the table of your employees. However, that’s not what this article is about. This article is to expose you to what the law as contained in the Companies and Allied Matters Act says about business particularly your choice of business name and its implications as to registration of same.
Generally, a business is the exchange of goods or services for money or another goods or service. It is created basically for profit-making. There are several types of business for example; sole proprietorship, partnership, a registered company, etc. Whatever type of business you intend to start, you will need a business name which will be the identity of the business just as a name is to a person. According to section 588(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, a business name means the name and style under which a business is carried on whether a partnership, sole proprietorship, or otherwise. There are some restrictions placed by law concerning the choice of a business name. This is provided in sections 30 and 579 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act. These sections state the prohibited and restricted names.
These are names that are not allowed in all circumstances to be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission. They are:
Name which is identical with that of an existing company already registered or where so resemble to be calculated to deceive the public
The name in the opinion of the Corporate Affairs Commission would violate any trademark or business name registered in Nigeria
Names considered by the Corporate Affairs Commission to be deceptive or objectionable because it contains a reference to any exalted person, practice, or intuition or it is likely to mislead the public as to the nationality, race, or religion of the proprietors.
These are names that cannot be registered without the consent of the Corporate Affairs Commission. They are:
Name Which contains the word National, Government, Municipal, State, Federal, Regional, which in the opinion of the Corporation Affairs Commission suggests or calculate to suggest that it enjoys the patronage of Government of Nigeria or any ministry or department
Name which contains the word Municipal or Chartered or in the opinion of Corporate Affairs Commission suggest a connection with any municipal or other local government authority
Name which contains the word Building Secured or Co-operative
Name which contains the word Group or Holding
Name which contains the word Chamber of Commerce without the consent of the Attorney General.
This implies that these words can be used to coin a name but the consent of the Corporate Affairs Commission must be sought and gotten first.
The business name coined will decide if such business must be compulsory registered or not. There are instances where registration is not compulsory and instances where it is compulsory. This is determined by the name of the business. Such instances will be considered below:
WHEN REGISTRATION OF BUSINESS NAME IS NOT COMPULSORY
For an individual, if he uses his full name, initials, and surname or surname without any addition.
Firm/Partnership, if it uses the full name, initials, and surname of the partners without any addition
Company and Corporation when it uses its corporate name without an addition
Partners having the same surname. If there is an addition of ‘S’ at the end of the surname
A business carried in by Receiver/Manager appointed by the court
Where addition is to show that the business is carried on in succession.
WHEN REGISTRATION OF BUSINESS NAME IS COMPULSORY
If the true surname of the individual is not used
If mixed surname and forename of the partners is used
If the addition of ‘& sons’ is made
Any addition or subtraction to the company’s registered name