Corporate name: a name to stand out? (2023)

Entrepreneurship is an adventure. Either it's aboutstart a businessalone, or in association, it will be necessary to determine the field of its activity, to capture a clientele and, in the long term, to prosper. But, before that, it is necessary to overcome certain formalities. A society cannot come into existence without doing anything. Thus, it is the fulfillment ofcompany formation formalitiesthat will give it a legal existence. In this respect, a parallel is easy: to create a society is to give it life. And, like the parents for the unborn child, the partners will have to agree on the name to give to their company. This must necessarily bear a name, which is qualified ascorporate name.


Definition of corporate name: what is a corporate name?
Company name definition: which companies must have a company name?
Company name: define the name of your company
Formalities related to the corporate name

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Definition of corporate name: what is a corporate name?

The corporate name is an element found in allcommercial companies. This will be the main identifying factor of the company. Indeed, it is easier to recognize a company by its name, which may be unique, than by the address of its head office, or even the description of its activities. These last elements could well be found for other companies.

The definition of corporate name is simple. Indeed,the legal name of the company is nothing other than its name. The law requires that this name appear in the company's articles of association, in the same way as certain other mandatory information. This mention will also appear on the Kbis of the company. However, the Kbis must be very precisely kept up to date. Thus, changing the name of the company will require you to carry out some formalities. It is only at the end of these that an updated Kbis will be sent by the registry.

Similarly,the corporate name of the company must appear on most of the documents it publishes. For example, this information must appear on its invoices. The name of the company will also be followed by an indication of its legal form (SA, SAS, SARL, etc.). This indication must be exact: it is forbidden to indicate a legal form that is not that of the company.

Company name definition: which companies must have a company name?

Thecorporate name is required for all commercial companies. Thus, creating a SARL, an SAS, or an SA will require choosing a corporate name. In addition, this requirement applies to certaincivil societies, such as SCPs. However, there is no obligation to choose a corporate name for other civil companies. Indeed, these can be satisfied with a company name, which very largely takes up the attributes of the name of the company. But, partners can decide, on an optional basis, to give a name to their civil partnership.

Company name: define the name of your company

All commercial companies must have a corporate name. But, this does not mean that a company can have any name. Indeed, certain rules must be respected when it comes to choosing the name of a company.

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Company name definition: an available name

First of all, you will have to check if the company name you are considering is available. It will not be possible to take a name on which were bornprior rights. It will therefore be necessary to ensure that such rights do not exist. For this, it will be necessary to consult certainregister, or to use the services of a professional to carry outresearch.

Thus, it is often recommended to consult the databases of:

This research will answer the question ofname availabilitythat you want to give to your company. Thus, you will only be able to adopt a name if no prior right prevents you from doing so. That is to say that a brand must not use the same name, or that, for example, another company has not been created with this name. In addition, it will not be necessary to name more than brands or corporate names similar to yours exist. Otherwise, the risk will be to be sued for counterfeiting, unfair competition, or even parasitism.

However, one must also take into account thechamp de protectionof the various elements that can block the choice of your corporate name. For example, a trademark is only protected for certain goods or services, chosen when it is registered. Thus, your corporate name could be accepted if your activity does not overlap with those deployed under the protected mark. Similarly, a trade name used by a third party cannot be chosen as the name for your company, unless its influence does not extend to your area of ​​activity.

Definition of the corporate name: a legal name

The partners have great freedom to determine the name of the company. Indeed, they can includeletters and numbers, even some special characters. Again, it can be a descriptive name, a fancy name, or even the name of the partners. But, some words are forbidden.

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Example of corporate name

  • Some denominations aredescriptive.For example, SNCF has the name “Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer”;
  • Some denominations are made up of afancy name. This is the case, in particular, of Sephora;
  • And, some denominations take up thename of a partner. For example, the Bordas editions have as their corporate name the name of their founder.

In case you decide to use your own name as the name of the company, note that you will not be able to prevent the company from using it, even after you leave. This solution wasestablished by judgesfor over 30 years now.

Example of a corporate name: prohibited terms

Classically, it isforbidden to use abusive language, likely to arouse hatred, or even discriminatory to compose a company name. Similarly,the name must not refer to an activity prohibited by law.

It will also be prohibited to refer to a regulated activity. It is only possible to refer, in the corporate name of the company, to a regulated activity if you have the authorizations to exercise it. For example, the term “taxi” may only be used if you have authorization to carry out this activity.

Similarly, it will be prohibited to use the name of a third party, except that it is current.

Example of a company's legal name: what it is not

Although often confused withthe trade name, the corporate name is different. Indeed, the name designates the company, while the trade name designates the company, the business. In a way, the trade name is the equivalent of a common name, while the corporate name is the real name of the legal person.

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The denomination should be distinguished fromthe sign. Indeed, the sign makes it possible to designate a particular establishment, and not the company as a whole.

Similarly, the corporate name is notA brand, which identifies particular products or services.

Formalities related to the corporate name

It is possible to acquire a true right of ownership over the corporate name. This right will arise fromcompany registration. Thus, protecting your name means taking all the necessary steps to create your company. It will be necessary to draft the statutes, make contributions, publish a legal announcement and, finally, file a registration file with the registry.

But, the name of the company may change during its lifetime. In such a case, it will be necessary to follow a precise procedure to reach thename changesocial. Thus, it will be necessary:

  • Take thedecisionto change the name of the company. This decision must be taken in the forms provided for by law or the articles of association;
  • Draw up a reportof this decision, which must indicate the old and the new denomination;
  • Publish alegal announcementindicating the old and the new denomination;
  • And, drop aedit folderof corporate name with the registry.

This done, the registry will issue a new Kbis. But, some updates will remain to be done: it will be necessary to update thelegal mentions of the company's website, if any, and all its commercial documents.

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Finally, communication of the name change is often organized with regard to customers and business partners.

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