If you’ve come up with the perfect name for your new business, make sure you take steps to prevent anyone else from registering it. Register your company name to ensure no one can use the same name. Please note that people may still be able to register slight variations of your chosen name. If this is something you are worried about, you may wish to register a few slight variations yourself and leave these companies as dormant.
When you register a company with Companies House, you are required to submit a registered office address for your company and supply addresses for your company directors. If directors wish to protect their home address, they need to supply two addresses to Companies House: their residential address which does not appear on public record and a service address that will be shown on the public record.
A director service address cannot be a PO Box but it can be the same as the registered office address for the company. The address must be where documents can be delivered and an acknowledgment or receipt can be provided if required.
Many businesses spend time and money establishing their brand so that it becomes a recognisable part of their corporate image. This can play an essential part in building a successful business reputation. Legally, your brand is defined as a trademark and can consist of a unique company logo, a form or wording or a combination of both of these.
Registering your brand as a trademark protects your corporate identity throughout the UK and prevents other people using your brand name. Trademarks need to be renewed every ten years at the Intellectual Property Office.
Copyright protects the authors of ‘original’ works. Whilst most commonly associated with music, literature, drama and art, copyright can also be applicable to the work of a business, even if it’s just the copy on their website.
In the UK, there is no official registration system for copyright – once an original work has been created and the author has expended more than negligible labour, skill and effort, then copyright is automatic.
If your work meets this criteria, it is advisable to mark your work with the © copyright symbol, the name of the owner and the year in which the work was created to protect your copyright. You may also post a copy of your work to yourself and keep the unopened, dated envelope to demonstrate the work was in your possession at a certain date.
If your business is based on an innovation, make sure you patent it to avoid anyone copying you openly. A patent is a protection for a new product or process that has been invented which gives the exclusive right of use to the owner for a period of 20 years. It is necessary to register a patent in each country where it is to be protected, although it is possible to file a single European patent giving protection in a number of European countries.
Companies House has a “Protected Online Filing” PROOF scheme to prevent fraudulent changes being made to your company. This free service prevent paper filing of some documents, including changes to the registered office address, changes to the officers, and the Confirmation Statement.
Protect your business with the necessary insurance. You may need different types of business insurance depending on the nature of your business.
For further help and guidance with your new business, check out the @UKplc Company Registrations Startup Guide