Having a memorable corporate name is important for all businesses
Many companies use their name for a variety of marketing activities, but do you know legally where you are supposed to display, and give details, about your company?
Where should I display it?
You should be displaying your company’s name at its registered office, at any location where it keeps its records available for inspection (for example its statutory books) and any location where it carries on its business. An exception to this rule is when the location is your primary living accommodation.
What needs to be displayed?
Your company’s full registered name should be displayed in a prominent position so that visitors can easily read it. The full registered name has to include the word ‘limited’, unless the company’s name, as recorded at Companies House, does not include the word ‘limited’.
In addition, where a location is shared by no more than five companies the registered name must be displayed continuously. However, where a location is shared by six or more companies each company must ensure that either:
-its registered name is displayed for at least fifteen continuous seconds at least twice every three minutes; or
-its registered name is available for inspection on a register by any visitor to that location.
Exceptions to this are:
-where your company’s registered office address has been moved to the offices of a liquidator, administrator, or administrative receiver – in this instance you are not required to display its name at those premises; or
-where your company’s activities are such that those at the premises are at risk of violence or intimidation – then your company is exempt from displaying its name where it carries on business, but must still display it at any inspection site.
Your company’s full registered name should be displayed on all business communications. Deciding whether or not an item is a ‘business communication’ is done by reference to its content, rather than its description, format or whether it is in hard copy or electronic form.
The term business communications includes, but is not limited to, the following:
-business letters, notices and official publications (e-mails discussing business matters are likely to constitute a business letter and a business communication as could compliments slips);
-bills of exchange, promissory notes and endorsements;
-invoices and demands for payment;
-letters of credit;
-applications for licences to carry on a trade or activity; and
-all other forms of business correspondence and documentation.
Unhelpfully there is no definition of what constitutes an ‘official publication’ or ‘other forms of business documentation’ and no guidance has been published on this.
All business letters (which may include emails), order forms and websites must also include the following information, in addition to the company’s full registered name:
-registered office address; and
-the part of the UK that it was registered in (e.g. England and Wales).
If your company is part of a group of companies which utilise one main website, the details of each company within the group must be included on the website. These details need not be included on every page of the website but should be placed somewhere prominent.
Where your company’s business letter template includes the name of a director of that company, other than in the text or as a signatory, the letter must disclose the name of every director of that company. You cannot be selective about whose names you show, you must set out all of them or none of them.
If a written request for information is made to your company, you must disclose details of its registered office, any inspection place and details of the company records kept at that office or place. This information must be provided within five days of receiving such a request.
If you do not comply with the trading disclosure rules, your company and/or its directors commit an offence and could be subject to a fine. Therefore it is important that you ensure you are aware of the rules and what you need to do, and do not fall foul of the regulations.
If you require any further information in relation to any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact the Corporate Commercial Team.