Company name: complete guide (2023) (2023)

The name of the company corresponds toyour company name. This is the name by which your company will be identified and that can be found in most administrative documents of the company. It is a mandatory step inbusiness creation. It also sometimes happens in the life of a company that it has to change its name.

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What is the social name?

To define what the corporate name is, it is important not to confuse this concept with other similar terms.


The name of a companyis its official nameand constitutes one of the elements of identification of a company registered in theNational Business Register. This denomination is freely chosen by the founders.

In all cases, the corporate name must be mentioned in the company's articles of association and on all administrative documents.

🔎 Zoom: The company name is one of the mandatory mentions to be included in the statutes of the company. Thus, in order to ensure that all the required information is included, the entrepreneur can seek the assistance of a professional such as LegalPlace tocreate your business. Thanks to a questionnaire previously completed by you, our team takes care of all the formalities: from the drafting of the statutes to the transmission of the file to the registry.

Company name or corporate name

The company name and thecorporate nameare the legal names of the company. That is to say the name under which the company will be referred to in all legal papers.

However, these two concepts do not refer to the same things.

The company name designatesthe legal name under which a civil partnership is identified as a legal person, just like a person's last name. It is essential to assign a company name to a company to create it.

We speak of “corporate name” for commercial companies and SCPs. Whereas, the expression “corporate name” is commonly used to identify civil companies such as SCIs and SCCVs.

To note: since thelaw on the modernization of legal professions and regulated professions of 28 March 2011, SCPs now have a corporate name and no longer a corporate name.

Finally, it should be noted that themicro-enterprises do not have a company name. Indeed, for auto-entrepreneurs, neither the company name nor the company name are used. The sole proprietorship will simply be identified by the name and surname of the entrepreneur.

Good to know: The choice of the company name and the company name is entrusted to the free will of the managers of the company. On the other hand, in the case of self-employed companies, the principle is different. Therecompany name of this legal formis simply made up of the name of the self-employed entrepreneur.

Company name: complete guide (2023) (1)

Company name and other elements

Then we can distinguishthe name of a companyof the following names:

  • Thenom commercialis used to identify a business or activity. It is usually trademarked and used publicly. The trade name is considered as an intangible element forming part of the goodwill and can be registered in the trade and companies register. It can correspond to the name of the company or to another denomination;
  • The signis used to identify the premises in which a business is operated, and corresponds to the name of the establishment. Its objective is to allow customers to easily locate the place of operation. However, it should be noted that the sign does not identify the company that operates the business;
  • The logo is a graphic representation of a company;
  • The trademark is characterized by a distinctive sign of the company which must be available and lawful;
  • The acronym is defined by an abbreviation of the company name.

How to choose it?

In principle, the founders of a companyhave the free choice of the corporate nameof their business. Generally, they opt for a name related to their activity, including the name(s) of one or more associates, or a fanciful name. It is preferable to select a short and impactful company name.

When choosing the name of the company, the partners must take care to respect several steps so that it is admissible:

  1. Perform a prior art search;
  2. Check compliance with the law;
  3. Choose an attractive name.

Step n°1: Search for anteriority

Associates are advised to avoid choosing a business name that sounds too similar to the name of a third-party company or atrademark, so as not to be exposed to legal action for unfair competition. Indeed, this could go against trademark law and respect for industrial property.

Good to know: In addition, it is permitted to use the surname of a partner. However, it should not be confusing by being identical to that of a reputable company.

It is essential toensure the availability of the company namebefore adopting it, as this helps protect the company against possible legal action for infringement. To do this, you can consult the database made available by the INPI or the website of theinfographicin order to check whether the proposed company name is available.

To note: For an in-depth search on the affiliation of a company name to a company, it is possible to make use of the paying services of the INPI.

Step 2: Verification of compliance with the law

To choose the name of his company, a business creator can freely use:

  • Letters of the alphabet ;
  • Numbers ;
  • The abbreviations « @ ».

Attention: it is howeverforbidden to use punctuation markssuch as ellipsis, comma, money symbols (€, £, $…), asterisk (*), etc.

With regard to content, the corporate name:

  • Must be legal and conform to social norms;
  • Must not be used out of context: it is prohibited to use an expression related to a regulated activity if the company does not carry out this activity. For example, it is forbidden to refer to an activity related to banking, architecture or medicine for a company that does not practice in these fields.

Step 3: Choosing an attractive name

Whencreationor thetake back the enterprise, if you want to use the corporate name of your company for commercial purposes, it is crucial to consider its marketing and communication dimension. When setting up your business, choose a corporate name thata un impact fort. This will allow you to stand out from the competition and make it easier for your customers to remember.

For this, it must be:

  • Simple, short and easy to remember;
  • Original, without being whimsical;
  • Evocative, that is to say, it must give an overview of its activities without going into detail;
  • Easily translatable: this is important, especially if the company plans to expand its activities internationally.

THEspecificities depending on the type of company

For non-trading companies, the corporate namemust contain the legal status of the company(SCI…), and the name of one or more partners with unlimited liability for company debts. It can be supplemented by details such as "& son", "& associates", or even "& company".

Attention: this obligation does not apply to SCPs.

Examples of company names

Here is a table listing examples of company names according to the activity carried out:

Civil Society of Agricultural Exploitation


Most often, the partners use the legal form of the company “SCEA” followed either:
  • From the name of the place of operation (for example “SCEA Domaine de Lavalade”, “SCEA Château d’Escat”)
  • From the name of the partner (“SCEA Dupont”).

Civil Real Estate Companies


Partners commonly use the legal form “SCI” followed by:
  • Their names ;
  • A name related to their activity;
  • Where this activity is located.

There are thus SCIs whose corporate name is “SCI Les Séjours de la Plaine” or “SCI Mid’est”.

Civil Societies of Means


The partners often use the type of civil partnership created “SCM” followed either:
  • From the name of the profession
  • Type of activity
  • One or more names.

For example, among the SCMs created, we find the “SCM Kiné Kleber” or the “SCM Medical Center Martigues Nord”.

How to protect her?

In view of the complexity of the administrative change procedure, it is appropriate toprotect your business name, especially when it is in accordance with the law. If you want to protect your company's trade name, you can do so by registering it as a trademark.

Thus, the protection of the name of your company can go through the trademark registration. The trademark filing allows the trademark to be registered with the INPI. Once registered, your company name will be protected from any use by a third party. You will be the only one who can use it. The protection will last for 10 years, but you can renew it indefinitely. This filing protects your company name in 2 ways:

  • If another company uses the same corporate name or trade name as yours and operates in the same field of activity, it is possible to act in unfair competition;
  • In addition to the action for unfair competition, you can bring an action for infringement.

How to modify it?

In principle, the name of a companycan be changed at any time.

The reasons that can lead to a change in the name of a company are varied: the arrival of a new partner, the development of a new strategy, a change in commercial orientation, and many more. In addition, this change is an important step because it requires an update of the statutes and theKbis of the company, given that the company name is mentioned therein.

Changing the name of a company is carried out in 3 steps, detailed below:

  • Convene and hold an extraordinary general meeting (AGE);
  • Publish a notice in a journal of legal announcements (JAL);
  • Submit the modification file to theOne-stop shop.

Finally, after having paid the registration fee and having received the validation of your file, the Guichet uniquewill automatically transmit your informationfor the change to be reported to the National Business Register (RNE).

Company name: complete guide (2023) (2)

In this video, we explain everything you need to know to choose the name of your company.

How much does the modification cost?

The procedure to follow is not free. From the beginning to the end of the procedure for changing the company name, many costs are incurred:

  • A fixed cost for the formality at the Single Window;
  • For an announcement of modification in a newspaper of legal announcements, the price is fixed according to the number of lines written;
  • Between 500 and 1000 € for legal fees, if you decide to be accompanied in your approach.


Should the company name be included on an invoice?

The company name designates the official name of the company, that indicated during its registration. This name must appear on all legal business documents.

What is the difference between company name and trade name?

A corporate name, which identifies the business as a legal entity. It is the equivalent of the surname for a natural person. A trade name, which is the name under which your company's business will be known to the public. It is sometimes the same as the corporate name.

What is the business name for a self-employed person?

The auto-entrepreneur cannot choose a company name or a company name. The legal name of his micro-enterprise is necessarily his name, and possibly his first name. Indeed, the latter exercises in his own name.

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Mehdi Ochallal

Company name: complete guide (2023) (4)

LegalPlace co-founder, Mehdi is a DJCE graduate and a lawyer. He worked for more than 12 years in Anglo-Saxon and French firms in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and capital investment.

Last updated on 03/08/2023



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