A Cost Guide to Business Name Registration and Trademarking

a cost guide to business name registration and trademarking by Peek Creative Limited

The right business name can make or break your small business endeavour. In this article we give you a complete guide to business name registration and trademarking. Once you have a good one, you’ll want to purchase the registration rights and look into further protections as well. But how exactly can you purchase a business name in the UK, and what can you expect it to cost?

In the UK, it costs at least £12 to register your business name with the Companies House Online. If you want to do it through the postal service, it costs £40. It’s important that you register your business for liability reasons and so that you can receive small business protections afforded by the government. 

If you’re trying to get your business off the ground and you want to purchase the naming rights, but you're not sure how much it will cost, and what you need to do, this is for. Below we’ll explore how much it costs to legally use a business name in the UK and what methods you can use to register. Then we’ll turn our attention to other protections you may consider and their cost. 

Methods of Purchasing a Business Name Registration and Trademarking and the Cost 

When it comes to purchasing business names in the UK, there are two main methods. You can either buy it online or through the postal service. Online, the fees associated may be different depending on how quickly you want it back. 

Either way, to use a business name as a private limited company or an LLP, you’ll need to register with the Companies House. This process can take place by mail or online, however, the prices may vary depending on which route you take. 

The following costs take into account where you register your business name and the timetable you expect it to come back: 

  • Online with at least 24 hour wait: If you’re willing to wait at least 24 hours to get your business name registered, you can do it online, starting at £12. Online your purchase can be made through PayPal or a debit/credit card. 
  • Online same day registration: If you want to be registered by the end of the day, you must apply before 3:00 PM, and you’ll need to pay a fee of £100 on top of the normal £12.
  • Postal service registration: This could take anywhere from 8 to 10 days to complete, and registration will cost £40. The reason it costs so much more is because they have to manually review your information and then send back their response by mail.

Whichever process you use, within just a few days to a few weeks, your business should be registered and ready to go. You’ll now be protected from others trying to register under your name, though technically they can still use the name in other capacities.  

Why You Should Register Your Business Name 

So, you may be asking yourself why you should even register your business name with the Companies House in the first place. Aside from complying with law, what are the benefits of registering your business name?

Below we’ve broken down four of the biggest reasons you should register your business with the Companies House.

  • Registering creates a record of your business: Having a record of your business is important for various reasons. One of the biggest is that it helps prove ownership of brands if there is ever a dispute. Believe us, having this record will pay off in the future in ways you would never expect. 
  • Registering leads to less fraud: With a government record of all businesses in an area, it’s easy to tell who is in control of each one. This level of transparency inherently leads to less fraud and more accountability. 
  • Registering leads to protections from liabilities: The only way to become a limited company or an LLP is by registering your business with the Companies house. In the event your business is sued, you won’t be personally liable because you were acting as a limited liability partnership. 
  • Registering affords you rights with your registered name: Once you’ve registered, you've effectively taken the rights to your name (in the UK), and you can use that to stop other businesses from registering under it. If you want to take things a step further, you can also look into getting a trademark. This is particularly true if you do business abroad.

At the end of the day, if you want security from liabilities, fraud, or someone stealing your name, registering with the Companies House is the first step. It doesn’t protect other businesses from using your name, just from registering it. Therefore, you’ll want to consider further protection afterward.  

How to Pay for and Register Your Business Name

There are multiple routes you can take to register your business name. Either way you want to do a quick search to make sure that the business name you want isn’t already taken. If it is, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board for what you want your business to be registered as. 

Whether you prefer doing everything by hand through the postal service or you’d like a quick and easy process electronically, your business can be registered relatively painlessly. You just want to make sure you follow the appropriate steps for the method you’ve chosen. 

In the following two sections, we will break down the different overall steps you need to take depending on whether you decide to register your business online or by mail.

Registering Your Small Business Name Online 

Today, most people register their small businesses online. Not only does it save money, but it also saves a lot of time. Plus, you don’t have to do the extra work of running to the post office to drop off your registration and you don’t have to worry that it might get lost in the mail. 

In order to register your business online, you should visit the Companies House website. From there you simply follow the prompts and fill out your application. Don’t forget that you’ll also be expected to pay the £12 fee when you turn in the application via PayPal or through a debit/credit card. 

Registering Your Small Business Through Mail

Registering your small business name through the mail is more expensive due the extra steps involved in mailing and manually examining it. It also tends to take more time, even when you pay extra to expedite the process, as you shall see in a moment. 

After you’ve confirmed that your business name isn't already taken, the first thing you need to do is fill out an IN01 form. This form comes directly from the Companies House and is used exclusively for registering business names manually.  

You’ll want to pay the fees and send your IN01 form in. You should wait about 8 to 10 days for everything to go through. If you want to expedite the process and don’t mind spending a little extra money, you have at least one option. 

If you pay £100 and in the top left corner of the envelope, write “same day service,” your application should be processed the day it comes in. This process could take as little as three days.

Services That Register Your Name for You and Their Cost 

If you’re still not comfortable with the registration process, it's understandable. This is definitely a lot to take in. Fortunately, however, there are services available to help you get your business name registered and answer any hyper specific questions you may have. 

It will increase the overall cost of registering your business name, but it will also likely lead to less hassle down the road. The following services are standing by to help you get your business name registered today.  

  • Archers Corporate Services: Archers is the biggest provider of help for properly filing small businesses in the UK. They will not only help you get the name registered but they will help actually establish things like banking as well. Their standard rate costs £69.99.
  • Rapid Formations: Rapid formations is another service that not only helps you get your business name registered but it also aids you in establishing other aspects of your startup like getting a certificate of good standing. Their cost is based on rates that start at £12.99 and go up based on what services you need. 

You may have noticed that all of these services can offer more for your startup than just registering your name. If you find them helpful, you may consider them for help with other issues in the future, such as getting that certificate of good standing. 

What About Trademarking Your Business Name?

Registering your business name affords you some rights in the area in which you live, however if you want your name to be even more secure abroad, you should consider trademarking it. A trademark allows you to protect your right to certain:

  • Word/words
  • Logos
  • Images
  • Signs

It also protects other signifiers that indicate your brand. Fortunately, that can include your business name. 

Why Trademark Your Business Name if It’s Already Registered?

Registering your business name affords limited protections that are mainly geared to preventing someone else from registering to Companies House with the same name. It doesn’t always protect you when someone else tries to co-opt your business name for use.

A trademark therefore, is important because it protects your name if someone else is trying to use something similar or just directly stealing it. It’s important that you get your trademark registered early to avoid any confusion down the road. 

How Much Does it Cost to Trademark a Business Name? 

The price of trademarking a business name in the UK varies based on the method you apply with and how many class trademarks you’ll need. We’ll discuss the classes in a subsequent section, however, suffice it to say the price goes up as the class goes up. 

The cost of trademarking a business name in the UK could fall into any of the following categories: 

  • Registering Online: Registering online has the benefit of a faster wait time and a lower price. A single class costs £170 with an extra £50 for each extra one. 
  • Registering by Mail: Registering by mail is a little more costly, however if you’re more comfortable with a long wait and you like doing things in person it may be the right way to go for you. It costs £200 to register for your first class and an additional £50 for any others. 

Whichever method of registration you use, you’ll want to make sure that you know roughly what price to expect so that you can have it ready. 

Is There Any Way to Lower the Cost of a Trademark? 

You do have an option available if you want to register your trademark at a reduced cost. The Intellectual Property Office has a service called Right Start, which allows you to pay only £100 for your first class and £25 for every class after that.

To make the most of your money, just make sure that you know exactly which class you’re applying for and why. This will help lead to fewer surprises where you underestimate or overestimate your costs. 

What are the Classes of Trademarks for Business Names? 

The classes of trademarks in the UK are distinguished by what industry the given trademark is intended for. All in all, there are 45 different classes of trademark. They are divided into goods and services, 11 of the classes deal with companies that provide services while 34 deal with companies that provide goods. 

Depending on what your business is you may have to register under multiple classes. That’s why we mentioned the cost would go up an extra £50 for each new class. 

Tips for Picking the Best Name to Trademark 

Trademarking a name can get tricky because of just how many trademarks are out there and what may or may not be accepted. If you want to make it easier on yourself, keep each of the following tips in mind when you’re picking your business name or logo. 

  • Avoid cliches or obvious names: Generally, it's frowned upon to try and trademark a cliche or the literal name of what you’re offering. Likely the names you’d come up with in this vein are either already trademarked or they’re not original enough to make it through the process. 
  • Make sure it sounds right: Even if the name you’ve chosen is different from another trademark, it might end up getting rejected if it sounds similar. Ensuring that your soon-to-be trademarked name has its own original sound is one of the primary ways you can avoid headaches in the registration process. 
  • Do your research ahead of time: The very fact that you’re reading this shows that you’ve already started your research. Still, you’ll also want to make sure that the trademark you’re planning to use isn’t already in use by someone else. We’ll direct you to exactly where you can do that in our section on how to register a trademark in the UK. 
  • Maybe try and coin your term: One of the simplest solutions to finding the right name to be trademarked is to just coin your own term. Original words or phrases will not only make it easier to be granted your trademark, but they will also help you to distinguish your business from the competition. A really good original term will stick in the minds of your customers.
  • Try interesting word combinations: Having difficulty coining your own term? One great way to go about it is to find interesting word combinations. Big time food companies like Burger King have been using this method for decades. Just remember, though it’s easier to be distinguished if the name is complex, it shouldn’t be so complex it isn’t memorable.

The key to picking a winning name for a trademark is to get out of your own way and let your creativity take control. Just remember that you need to balance what is acceptable as a trademark with what will be memorable to your target audience as a business name. If you focus too much on either one, the other may fail.  

How to Register Your Trademark at the Best Cost 

So now you’re probably wondering how exactly you go about registering the trademark for your business? What steps do you need to be taking now to make it happen? Well, fear not, because we have the answers. 

The following five steps should help you through the process of online registration:  

  • Perform a search: The first thing you want to do when you decide to register your business name as a trademark is to do a search to make sure that someone else hasn’t taken it already. Fortunately, you can do this from home as the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) provides a free online search engine to help you.
  • Choose what you want to trademark: Now you just need to pick a name that is original enough to make it through the trademarking process. 
  • Begin the application: To begin the application process, you need to visit the IPOs website and go to the page to apply. There should be a green button that you can press, which will take you directly into the questions. 
  • Follow the prompts: The application will start by asking who is registering--you or your company. Then the application will move to ask for your information as well as information about the trademark. If you’re doing a logo as well, you'll need to upload the image. This is important because you’ll also have to choose if you’re registering multiple.
  • Submit your application: Just review all of the information you've gone over and submit your application. They should review it and if all goes well, you should have your name trademarked and ready to go within three to five months.  

As you can see, the process of trademarking certainly takes a lot more time than the process of simply registering your name. Still, with patience you’ll have far more protection than you would have otherwise along with a lot of other benefits. 

The Benefits of Trademarking Your Business Name

We’ve already touched on the fact that trademarking your business name provides you with more protection than simply registering it. That said, what exactly are those extra protections and what other benefits are there to trademarking your business name? 

Registering your business name as a trademark is useful because it:

  • Gives you legal power: If someone else uses your name and it's only registered, you can only prevent them from registering theirs. With a trademark on the other hand, you can take legal action against anyone trying to steal your name for profit.
  • Helps your business name standout: To be eligible for a trademark, you have to get creative. Not only so that you can avoid using a name someone else is already using but also so that it will be eligible.
  • Provides you with a springboard for other trademarks: From here, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing when you go to trademark your logo or anything else that denotes your business. Plus it’ll likely be an easier process, as it’s easier to find an original image than an original word. 

All in all, a good trademark forces you to be more creative, and it provides you with extra legal protection all at the same time. This is really what makes it worth the extra cost. 

Services That Help Trademark Your Name and Their Cost

If you feel like your head is spinning right now due to all the complications that go into trademarking a business name, you’re not alone. Fortunately, if you don’t want to wade into this task alone, there are services available to help you. The only hitch is that it will cost you a little bit more money. Still, the headache it saves might just make it worth it. 

Below we’ve laid a few of the most well known services that help small business owners with trademarks and how much they cost.

  • Trama: Trama is a business that helps you through the process of creating a trademark. In the UK, their pricing comes to £411.85. The services you receive for that price include; an eligibility test, similarity screening so you don’t pick a name that’s already trademarked, drafting the specs of your goods and services, applications, and expert advice. 
  • Trademark Hub: Trademark Hub is an online service that helps you check to make sure your name isn’t trademarked already and then go through the filings and paperwork to actually get yours trademarked. Their rates are £199 for small business startups and £599 for more established ventures. 
  • Trademark Room: This service has been set up to consult and guide you through the process of gaining your trademark. They can also help you to make sure that your trademark isn’t already taken or determine whether it is something that will actually make it through the registration process. Their prices are determined through a consultation. 

Remember, these services are not absolutely necessary. They just exist in case you have any trepidation about filing for your trademark. They mostly play an organizational and advisory role in the process.  

What About Copyrighting Your Business Name?

A common misconception is that trademarking and copyrighting are the same thing. You don’t have to worry about the cost of copyrighting (at least as far as your name goes) because copyrighting isn’t for:

  • Business names
  • Logos
  • Other identifiers. 

Instead, copyright just has to do with the actual intellectual property you're producing. This could be a specific product you’re trying to sell or a service specific to you. All that said, you should certainly look into copyright, just not for the business name itself.

Read more about Copyrighting and your business

So Really, What is the Cost of Purchasing a Business Name?

The cost of purchasing your business name depends on several factors like whether you register by mail or online. The price could also vary if you decide to go for more protection by trademarking your business name. It’s a good idea to do that as merely registering your name only protects its registration. Someone else could still use it in an unofficial capacity.

Just registering your business name with the government online costs £12. However, if you want to do it through the postal service, it will cost £40. You can speed up that process with an extra £100. 

After you’ve done that, you may want to go further by trademarking your business name. This will cost you at least £200 by mail and at least £170 online for your first class. It’s an additional £50 for any other classes you need to apply for. If you need any extra help in this process just remember to check out the services we listed for both trademarking and registering.

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