Business Name Registration
Registration of a business name is obligatory if any individual or partnership (whether composed of individuals or bodies corporate or any combination of both) or any body corporate carries on business under a name other than their own true names. Its purpose is to make public the identities of those individual(s), partnerships or corporate bodies being the legal entity behind the business name.
Specifically registration of a business name is required if:
- an individual uses a business name which differs in any way from his/her true surname. It makes no difference whether the individuals first name or initials are added. So registration is required if, for example, Mr. John Murphy traded as Murphy Builders but not if he traded as Murphy or John Murphy);
- a firm uses a business name which differs in any way from the true names of all partners who are individuals and the corporate names of all partners which are bodies corporate;
- a company uses a business name which differs in any way from its full corporate name;
- a person having a place of business in the State carries on the business of publishing a newspaper.
Forms to be completed
To register a business name, submit one of the following forms, along with the registration fee (€40 for paper filing/€20 for electronic filing), to the CRO within one month of adopting the business name:
- Form RBN1: for an individual
- Form RBN1A: for a partnership
- Form RBN1B: for a body corporate
Link to Business Names Forms Link to Fees Page
Please note: It normally takes three weeks from the receipt of the paper form/signature page in the CRO for the registration of a business name and the issue of the certificate. Please also note that the certificate will issue by email. Remember that the email address supplied on the form for registration will receive the issued certificate. Please check in case the document is received into Spam or Junk folder and consider whitelisting the CRO email address for any future communication (if any).
Please note issues that may need clarification when an application is submitted:
- That when registering a business name, the following words are not allowed in a business name - "limited", "ltd", "teoranta", "teo", "incorporated", "inc." or "company".
- When describing the nature of business on the application, where the business is taking place from a residential address, the application may be queried (retail, manufacturing etc.). Some types of business may not be conducive to being operated from a residential address. We would advise attaching a brief note with the application outlining how the home address is appropriate for the business activity.
- Ownership of a business name cannot be transferred from one person to another using the form RBN2. The existing owner must complete an RBN3 to cease trading under the name. The new owner must complete an RBN1 to register the business name in his/her own name.
- The registration of business names ending in a domain name suffix such as ".ie", ".com", ".net" or prefix such as "www" is considered undesireable, for the purposes of section 14(1) of the Registration of Business Names Act 1963. Proof of domain name ownership is required to process these applications. You can check if your .ie domain name is available and register it online at www.iedr.ie/register-your-domain/.
- The word "Associates" or "Group" in a business name implies more that one, that is, a partnership. It cannot be used in the name in the case of an individual application (RBN1).
How to Apply to Register your Business Name Online
In order to apply online for a business name (available at CORE), please see example in Filing a Business Name in CORE webpage.
Please remember that if your business name application is completed online, https://core.cro.ie, the signature page is still required to be submitted to the CRO, with the relevant fee where the payment is not by credit card. Increasingly, applications are being paid for by credit card but customers are not submitting the relevant signature page. The certificate cannot be created without the submission of the signature page document.
Uncompleted Business Name Applications
THe CRO is currently reviewing all on-line Business Name Applications paid for by credit/debit card where the application has not been completed. An email will issue to customers advising how to complete or cancel the application.
Customers are advised NOT to send credit/debit card details via email.
Applicants are requested to enter in their Nature of Business and applicants choose from NACE codes Version 2: Nace code 2.pdf
Checking the Name
The CRO does not check proposed business names against names on the registers of companies or business names. It is advisable, therefore, to investigate the possibility of others having rights in the name which it is proposed to use before incurring expenditure on business stationery, etc. Applicants are advised to check those registers to ensure the proposed business name does not conflict with a company name or trade mark since any person claiming to have a right to that name could take an infringement action or a passing off action to defend his/her interest.
You can check the register of companies and register of business names free of charge using the Search Facility.
You can undertake a search of the trade mark register at the Patents Office.
You should note that registration of a business name:
- does not give protection against duplication of the name;
- does not imply that the name will necessarily prove acceptable subsequently as a company name;
- does not authorise the use of the name if its use could be prohibited for other reasons. It should not for instance be taken as an indication that no rights (e.g. trade marks rights) exist in the name.
Certificate of registration
The registrar issues a certificate of registration for each business name registered. A copy of the certificate of registration must be exhibited in a conspicuous position:
- In the case of a firm or individual at the principal place of business and in every branch, office or place where the business is normally carried on;
- In the case of a body corporate, at its registered office in the State and in every branch, office or place where the business is normally carried on.
The name(s) of the proprietor(s) of a business must be shown on all business letters, circulars etc. on which the business name appears. If the proprietor of the business name is a body corporate, the following additional information must be shown on business letters:
- The full name of the company (note that the only permitted abbreviation is Ltd for Limited, PLC for Public Limited Company, etc.);
- The names and any former names of the directors and nationality if not Irish;
- Additional particulars are required on letters and order forms for Irish registered companies (this does not apply to unlimited companies): The place of registration (e.g. registered in Dublin, Ireland); the registered number (i.e. number of certificate of incorporation); the address of the registered office (where this is already shown on the document, the fact that it is the registered office must be indicated); if the company share capital is mentioned on the business letters and order forms, the reference must be to the paid-up share capital.
Please see also: Information Leaflet 14 regarding business name registration.