Before you incorporating in the Bahamas you must finalize your company name. It’s a big decision as the name you choose is so much more than a name, it’s a key piece of your branding. There are a few things to consider before you begin brainstorming your options.
Bahamas Naming Restrictions
According to the Bahamas Business Registration Act, it is important to avoid names that could be considered offensive in any way. If the Bahamas Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority finds a proposed name to be offensive, the registration may be denied, even if the name was intended as a play on words.
Be Mindful Of Additional Licensing Requirements
Certain types of businesses may require additional licensing. If your business does not fall into one of these categories, it is important to avoid using words in your business name that are commonly associated with these regulated industries. For example, if you are not an actual educational institution, you should avoid using words like “academy,” “university,” or “education” in your name. Similarly, if you are not in the banking or insurance industries, you should avoid using words like “bank” or “insurance” in your business name. This will help prevent confusion and ensure that your business name is not misleading.
Pre-Existing Business Names
It is a good idea to brainstorm and narrow your business name options down to two or three choices, as there may already be an existing business with the name you want. Once your short list has been approved, you should check to see if the name is already taken.
If the business name you want has been reserved but the company is not yet incorporated, you may be able to wait it out for up to 120 days. During this time, you can file an appeal to reserve the name for yourself. If the company has been dissolved, you can also file an appeal for the name you want.
The Government of the Bahamas is strict about identical business names to prevent companies from impersonating others and benefiting from established branding. This helps protect businesses from being sued for the tort of passing off. While these strict rules may be frustrating when searching for a business name, they are in place to protect you and other businesses.
Reserving A Company Name
Before you can reserve a company name, you must first make sure it is not already in use. To do this, you should conduct a thorough search for the name you want. However, it is important to search for more than just the exact name you have in mind. These tips will help you conduct an effective search for a company name:
- Search for both your full and partial business name, as well as close variations. For example, if you are considering naming your business ThinkTank Tech you must also search for “Think Tank Tech”, “Think Tank Technologies”, “Tank Technologies” and other similar variations.
- Search for similar sounding names with creative or foreign spelling. For example, the word “Tricks” could be spelled “Trix” or “TRX”.
- Search for sequence variations. For example, if you are thinking of naming your business “Smith and Wright” search for “Wright and Smith”.
- Search for names with similar meanings. If your proposed business name is Blue Motors Gaming, search for “Blue Motors”, “Blue Automotive”, and “Blue Machine”.
- Mixing up the type and case of the letters, or adding spacing, or punctuation marks won’t help you get around a similarity. For example, trying to replace “Who” for “Who?”
There are several factors to consider beyond just ensuring that the name you want is available. You should also be aware of similar words and names that may be exempt from name restrictions.
Similar Words And Names That You May Disregard
Some words are commonplace in business titles and therefore not exempt from name restrictions. This includes but is not limited to:
- The word “The”. Countless businesses can have this name without being viewed as a similarity. This also means that you can’t add “the” or the other variations below to your business name to differentiate.
- Legal business elements and suffixes fall into the same category, such as Limited/Ltd., Incorporated/Inc., Corporation/Corp., and Private/Pte.
- Common business-related expressions and names such as “international”, “worldwide”, or “global”.
- Plurals of the above words, expressions, suffixes, or legal elements.
Your Trading Name And Legal Name May Vary
If you’ve found the perfect name to brand your business but it’s not available, not to worry as your trading name may vary from your legal name. For example, your legal company name may be “Grand Group Ltd.”, but your website, social media, advertising, and trade name may be “Grand Technologies” or even a name with far fewer similarities. If you go this route, we still advise that you ensure there are not any competitors in the same industry with a similar name; again to avoid the torte of passing off.
If your trade name and legal name vary, you will still need to disclose your legal name on your website, contracts, invoices, and other official documents.
Found The Perfect Business Name! Now What?
Once you find your perfect name it’s time to register your company. The team at SCGIBC simplifies this process for you, taking care of everything for you remotely. That’s right, you can register your new company without traveling to the Bahamas.
For more information don’t hesitate to contact SCG IBC with questions.