Guidelines for availability of names issued by Ministry of Corporate Affairs
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The following guidelines have been set up by The Department for determining the availability of names:
Any name which is seen to be spoken for by any of the ensuing categories shall not be made available:
If it is not in concurrence with the chief objectives of the firm as established in its memorandum of
association. This of course applies for names which already indicate the nature of business the firm
is going to indulge in, as every name cannot be an indicator of the objects of a company.
- If the Company/Companies primary area of operation is finance unless the name is indicative of the respective financial activities. Viz. Chit Funds/ Investments / Loan, etc.
- If it contains any word or words which cause any segment of the population to take offense
- If the English name of an already existing company, especially one well known in its field, is simply translated into Hindi.
- If the proposed name sounds similar to an already existing company for example, J.K Industries Ltd., Jay Kay Industries Limited.
- If the name is generic like Cotton Textile Mills Ltd., or Silk Manufacturing Ltd., and nonspecific like Calcutta Cotton Textiles Mills Limited or Lakshmi Silk Manufacturing Company Limited.
- If it contains the word "Co-operative", Sahakari or any other equivalent of word "Co-operative" in any of the regional languages of India.
- If it is in contempt of the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 as amended from time to time, i.e. use of inappropriate names disallowed by this Act..
- If it implies the participation of the Government or its support unless situations indicate it. E.g., a name may be seen to be improper in a particular context if it includes any of the words including but not limited to National, Union, Central, Federal, Republic, President, Rashtrapathi, Small- Scale Industries, Cottage Industries and Financial Corporation etc.
- If the words "British India" are included in the proposed name..
- If the proposed name connotes any sort of association or connection with Embassy or Consulate or with local authorities such as Municipal, Panchayat, Delhi Development Authority or any other body connected with the Union or the State Government.
- If the proposed name is obscure and not clear, like D.J.M.O Limited or T.N.V.R Private Limited or S.S.R.P Limited.
- If a proposed name indicates any association or link with or support of a person known throughout the country, or a hero or any person held in regard or important people who are on vital positions in Government so long as they continue to hold such positions.
- If it is similar to the well-known or shortened descriptions of significant firms like TISCO (Tata Iron
and Steel Company Limited), HMT (Hindustan Machine Tools), ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries),
TEXMACO (Textile Machinery Corporation), WIMCO (Western India Match Company) etc.
Sometimes, the first or initial words may be the key words and thus should be guarded against
any misuse. Even if they haven’t been registered as trademarks, such words should be
a) In cases where the pre-existing firms are known to be reputed and famous in their
respective spheres of operation by their abbreviated names, these companies may be
given permission to alter their names, by way of abbreviation with the permission of the
concerned Regional Director.
- If the only difference between the name/names of the existing company/companies and the
proposed name is only the name of a place within brackets before the word 'limited' for example,
Indian Press Limited. Howbeit, this is waived in cases of the subsidiary and also of a firm doing
local business and in other cases on their merits. As for an example, "Corner Garage (Delhi)
Private Limited" may be allowed even though it is known, that there is an already registered
company "Corner Garage Private Limited" at Calcutta. The same would be with "Regent Cinema
Limited" at Chennai, and the subsequently named Regent Cinema (Delhi) Limited. Coming under
the same umbrella of management also permits such names to be granted.
- If generic and common words are included in the proposed name, like "Popular, General, Janta",
and if they are present in the same State or in the same field of business. But when companies
deal in different businesses while being in the same State and in every case when the official
registered office of the firm is in different States, the rule may be waived. For example, if "Popular
Drug House Private Limited" is already in operation, another company by the name of "Popular
Plastics Private Limited" should not be hindered in being named so.
If the name of a registered trade-mark is included, unless the permission of the holder of the
trade-mark has been furnished by the promoters. It may not be feasible to check up the proposed
named with the trade mark in every single case. Nevertheless, if the Registrars are aware of the
fact or some interested party / parties brings it to their attention that a trade mark is included in
the proposed name then it should be disallowed, until and unless a no-objection certificate is
obtained from the owner who has registered the trade mark in his own name. [Note: Section
20(2)/ (3) has been amended by the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The amended section now provides
legal protection of all trademarks in the matter of availability of name.
If a name is similar to or closely resembles, the name of which an already existing, pre-registered
company. A few examples of closely resembling names are shown below for help in determining
such similarities. The names wished for in the left column should not be usually made available in
view of the existing firms, as shown in the column on the right. However, if the to be named
company is supposed to function the same management or in the same business group and like
to have a highly similar name to the existing companies under the same administration or group
with to exploit the reputation and public image attached to the management or group name, then
such a name may be allowed.
The same principle may be followed, in every case possible, even with regard to unregistered
companies or companies who have built up a reputation over a substantial period of time. If the
name is identical with or too similar to the name by which a company has been previously
registered and is in operation, it should not be permitted. In light of the difficulties and ambiguities
associated with determining whether a proposed name is similar to or too nearly resembles the
name of an unregistered firm or a company of repute, the least that can be done is to make sure
that a proposed name is not accepted if according to the knowledge of the Registrar, it is similar
to or too nearly resembles the name of a pre-registered pre-existing firm. Foreign companies with
sizeable reputation should be treated likewise, irrespective of the presence of branches in India.
||Existing Company too nearly resembling name
|Hindustan Motor and General Finance Company
||Hindustan Motor Limited
|The National Steel Mfg. Co. Private Limited
||National Steel Works
|Trade Corporation of India Limited
||State Trading Corporation of India Limited
|Viswakaram Engineering Works Private Limited
||Viswakaram Engineer (India) Private Limited
|General Industrial Financing & Trading Co. Ltd.
||General Financial & Trading Corporation
|India Land & Finance Limited
||Northern India Land & Finance Limited
|United News of India Limited
||United Newspaper Limited
|Hindustan Chemicals and Fertilizer Limited
||Hindustan Fertilizers Limited
If it bears a striking resemblance to the name of a firm in the process of being liquidated, since
until the liquidation has been carried out to completion the name of the company is still present on
the register. A two year window shall be established before allowing the name of such liquidated
firms are allowed to be taken up by new companies, or names similar to or resembling the
liquidated companies name are permitted to be used by new firms, since such a dissolution could
be nullified by a Tribunal order as given under section 356 of the 2013 Act.
Since the Tribunal can allow the revival of a firm which has been completely liquidated under the
provisions of section 356 of the Act within a 20 year period from the date of the Official Gazette
that declares the name to be struck off, it is considered good practise to halt or allow the
registration of a proposed name which is similar to or identical with the name of such dissolved
company for a period indicated below, with certain specific restrictions. 20 years is a significant
length of time by any standard and thus the acceptance of a name that is similar to or identical
with the name of a company that has been dissolved in light of the provisions of section 560
should be held back for the first five years only. During the next five years if such similar or
identical name is proposed, it should be allowed subject to the provision that in the event of the
dissolved firm coming back to operation due to a juridical order, the new firm would necessarily
have to alter its name. After the succeeding decade, such similar or identical names may be
permitted freely and without restraint.
If the only dissimilarity between the name of an existing company and the proposed name is
merely the appending of words like New, Modern, Nay etc. such names should not be permitted.
Relevant examples are New Bata Shoe Company, New Bharat Electronic etc. when the same
words are ordered in a different sequence, it should draw the attention of the registering
authorities. A point in case may be, if there is a company in existence by the name of “Builders
and Contractors Limited” the name "Contractors and Builders Limited" should be disallowed in
If words like "Bank", "Banking", "Investment", "Insurance" and "Trust" are added to the name
which may be permitted only in cases which vindicate its use. The advice of the Reserve Bank of
India should be taken into consideration when banking companies apply for registration of a
name. This is to prevent the misuse of the name of established and well known banks operating
outside India, by smaller banking entities. When the opinion of the Reserve Bank of India is in
conflict, the issue should be decided upon by the Board.
If the proposed name also includes the words "Industries" or "Business" unless the name points
to the business of the proposed company, otherwise it allows for easy diversification of the
operations of the company.
If the name is not in concordance with the scope or scale of operations of the firm and suggests
much larger commitments than its resources allow for. For example, names like Water
Development Corporation of India (Private) Limited, Telefilm of India (Private) Limited, All India
Sales Organization Limited, Inter Continental Import and Export Company Limited, etc. should be
disallowed. When the authorized capital is limited to a few lakh and the operating territory is to be
confined to a single State, words like "International", "Hindustan", "India", "Bharat", "New India"
etc., included in the proposed name do not need be validated as Hindustan, India etc. (as they do
not give the same sense). Likewise the words, Bharat, India etc. If mentioned in the bracket
prefixing the words limited or private limited need not undergo the same rigorous checking as the
words India, etc., put at the beginning of the name. The words "India" or "Bharat" in brackets
before the words Limited or private limited does not connote that the firm is an Indian Branch or
subsidiary of some foreign company, such as "Marsdon Electricals (India) Private Limited".
If the proposed name sets the word "State" along with the name of any State of the Union of
India, such as Kerala State Company Limited, itis not to be authorized as it would give the false
impression of the Kerala State Government being a participatory body in the share capital of the
proposed firm. Nevertheless, if only the name of the State only is stated without appending the
word "State" in the proposed name then it may be given permission as it is not expected to show
that the State Government has any interest whatsoever in the firm.
If the name states the word "Corporation" unless official records officially prove the expanse of
the company. That being said, the word "Corporation" and "Company" may be assumed to be
highly similar and too closely resembling for purposes of allotting a proposed name. For example,
a firm with the name of Rajasthan Finance Company should be regarded as disagreeable in the
light of section 20 of the Act as another company by name "Rajasthan Finance Corporation" is
already in operation.
If the proposed name includes words which signify any foreign associations or participation, like
French, British, German, etc., until and unless the promoters furnish proof that there is a sort of
alliance or link with the foreigners of the respective firm or place the name of which is
incorporated in the name. Thus, the name "German Tool Manufacturing Company Limited"
should not be authorized if the firm does not show any visible linkage with the nation of Germany.
In cases where other than the first word of the new name, all other words are either similar to or
resemble closely the name or names of already preregistered and pre-existing firms, the first
word’s ability to differentiate the name from the name of the existing company should be
recognized and allowed for. For example, "Oriental... Limited". [Circular Letter No. 10(1) - RS/65,
dated 27-11- 2965.
Guidelines as to use of Key words
With a view to maintain uniformity, the following guidelines may be followed in the use of keywords,
as part of name, while making available The proposed names under section 4 of Companies Act,
||Required Authorized Capital
||Rs. 5 Crore
||International, Globe, Universal, Continental, Inter Continental, Asiatic, Asia being the first word of the name
||Rs. 1 Crore
||If any of the words at (2) above is used within the name (with or without brackets)
||Rs. 50 Lakh
||Hindustan, India, Bharat being first word of the name
||Rs. 50 Lakh
||If any of the words at (4) above is used within the name (with or without brackets)
||Rs. 5 Lakh
||Industries / Udyog
||Rs. 1 Crore
||Enterprises, Products, Business, Manufacturing
||Rs. 10 Lakh
These names with key words mentioned in Serial Nos. (6) And (7) may not be considered unless the
company proposes to deal in different spheres of business or the company is presently conducting
business on multiple fronts (in the case of change of name). F. No. 27/1/87-CL- III dated 13-03- 1989:
(1989) 65 com cases 536 (St.)