Before a company name can be registered contact the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Capron) to have the proposed name verified, approved, and reserved.
Register as a company
The first thing you have to do is register as a customer. This is simple to do and is free of charge. Just follow the simple steps, which appear, on the Cirpo website here.
A name search must be undertaken
Once you have registered as a client the proposed name has to be searched for on the names register held by Cipro. Various criteria will be followed to check that the proposed names do not include similar names, comparative names or offensive names.
There are three search options:
- Search Option 1: Use this search option if you know the exact name of the enterprise you are looking for.
- Search Option 2: Use this search option if you know the number (new or old) of the enterprise you are looking for.
- Search Option 3: Use this search option if you are not sure of the exact name of the enterprise you are looking for. i.e. you may know that the name of the enterprise you are looking for contains the word Computers but you are not sure of the entire enterprise name.
Complete an application
Once this information is established through Cipro, you are required to complete a CK7 form. This is the “Application for Reservation of Name, or Translated Form, or Shortened Form”. This application is available on the Cipro website. Once the form is completed, you can lodge it electronically on the website.
You can submit applications manually
This form (CK7) can also be bought from stationers that supply legal forms. If the application is not submitted online, the CK7 form must be completed in black ink. The writing must be legible and in capital letters. A fee (under R100) is deducted from your virtual account that you open when you register as a customer.
What happens after approval?
Once the proposed name has been checked and approved, the CC Registration Office will confirm approval by way of a confirmation letter, indicating the name that has been confirmed and reserved.
This letter is e-mailed or posted to the applicant or can be collected from Cipro in Pretoria. You need to allow for seven working days for processing. The approved name is reserved or is valid for two months.
Business names and trademarks
The name of your CC or PTY doesn’t have to be the same as your trademark. A trademark is a brand name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies the services or goods of one person. The name of your CC or PTY doesn’t have to be the same as your trademark. Take the example of General Motors, there are no cars called General Motors, but there are a number of trademark names for cars such as Chevy or Opel which are produced by General Motors. Another example is SA Breweries.
How and When to Use a Trading Name
A trade name, also known as a trading name or a business name, is the name which a business trades under for commercial purposes, although its registered, legal name, used for contracts and other formal situations, may be another name.
Can you tell the bank that you trade as “ABC Builders”, while the company is registered as Apple, Bear and Cat Associates?
Yes, you can. Many people choose to use a Close Corporation or Company Name and trade as another unregistered name of their choice. This is often done when a person has been a sole proprietor trading as (t/a) and their customers are used to the trading name. Another reason they do this is that their customers or clients know the trading name. As a company it has built up a good deal of goodwill around the trading name and also has a Common Law Right to the use of the name. The banks and SARS will use the official name and include the trading name in official documents and account names.
Check if the trading name is registered to someone else
An easy way of checking on the usage of trading names by others is to search through telephone books, local business directories and on the internet for the trading name you want to use. Although this is not a foolproof method it does give some indication of whether someone else is using the name you want to trade as.
The best local source to check is the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) website to establish if the name you have in mind is not yet taken. Scroll down on the left hand panel and select “name search”. If there is another company by the same or similar name operating in your industry, you will in all likelihood find it registered here.