How to choose a business name in the UAE?

Rules and regulations to choose a business name in UAE
December 6, 2023

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Your company name is one of the most integral parts of your business in 2024. As it defines what you do and sets the scene for every interaction you have with your customers. So, you must choose a business name in UAE that aligns with your brand.

Remember that your company name literally comes before you. Therefore, you must carefully consider its branding, marketing and web implications during your business setup in UAE. After all, a business name is one of the first things that people consider while buying a product or service.

In case, you are in the process of deciding a name for your business in UAE. Then, knowing that UAE does not place many hindrances in choosing a company name will definitely make you happy. The rules are pretty straightforward and not unusual.

Regulations for business name in the UAE

Which are regulations for business name in the UAE?

These are the rules to follow before you invest your time and resources in naming your business in UAE.

  • Your company name should not already been reserved or protected by copyright by a similar business in UAE.
  • The business name should not contain obscene or indecent words.
  • Your company name must not offend the general public even if it is a person’s name.
  • The name should not indicate God’s names or his divine attributes, neither in Arabic nor in English. For example, Al Qader, Al Aleem, Al Razzaq, etc.
  • Your business name should not contradict the activity your company performs. Rather, it should preferably reflect it.

American inventor and entrepreneur Lori Greiner has these insights about naming a business.

Business name should be catchy and memorable. It should help people understand what your business does. If your name reflects your products or services, you will have much better chance to be found (via Google search), so choose wisely.

Lori Greiner — American entrepreneur

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Restricted names for business in UAE

What are restricted names for business in UAE?

Here are the terms that authorities restrict as a business name in UAE.

  • Some words are forbidden such as UAE, Emirates, Cities’ names, Districts, Airports Codes of UAE, etc.
  • Names of continents, countries, and foreign cities are also not allowed in business name.
  • However, nationalities can come in the company name, e.g. European, African, Italian, etc.
  • Trademarks cannot begin with International, Middle East, Global etc. nor can it be translated.
  • Business name cannot be similar to government organizations’ names or their abbreviations.
  • The names must not contain any sign of global, political, religious, sectarian organizations, e.g. FBI, Vatican etc.
  • Companies must use Google to search their chosen name to make sure that it does not belong to other organizations.
  • Business name cannot fully or partially contain any of the local of global active brands or government projects such as: Toyota, Samsung, KFC etc.

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Industry specific regulations about business names

Are there any industry specific regulations about business names?

These are some industry specific guidelines.

  • The word “Commodities” can be approved only if the company trades in more than one commodity or practices general trading activity.
  • Nevertheless, if the proposed name specifies the activity such as “ABCD Agri/Agro Commodities”, then the name can be reserved.
  • The terms “ME” or “CO” are prohibited for individually owned companies. Unless they come as part of a word like “LCME Trading”, “ATCO Services”.
  • Some words will involve a specific approval to continue with the company name reservation process. For instance, the word “Capital” needs approval from the UAE Central Bank. Whereas, the word “FX” requires approval from DGCX.

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Usage of operating names as business names

Can operating names be used as business names?

Here are some rules about the usage of operating name in lieu of business name in UAE.

  • Adding an operating name is another available option to the companies.
  • It allows them to use their brand or short name to make their business name legal.
  • Operating names cannot carry any unlawful terminologies.
  • The name would not get approval if it is similar to DED/local active company that performs similar activities.
  • Operating name must not contradict with company’s name and must conform with above rules.

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Rules for subsidiary, joint venture, and branch names

What are the rules for subsidiary, joint venture, and branch names?

These are the regulations about subsidiary, joint venture, and branch names in the UAE.

  • Subsidiary’s name must not be similar to its parent company’s name. Legal type and suffix are not considered as part of the name, and must fulfill all above rules.
  • Joint venture’s name can be held in reserve as similar to the parent company’s name upon submitting NOC and/or Justification Letter whichever is needed depending on the case.
  • The name of a branch must be the exact similar to its parent company’s name. Unless, it contains restricted words (Legal type not included).

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Use of first names, family names, and translations in business names

Is there any use of first names, family names, and translations in business names?

There are some considerations regarding the usage of first names, family names, and translations for business names.

  • Individual first names of Arabic origin can be used if the name belongs to one of the recommended shareholders.
  • Family names can be used only if the first name is included and must be a name of one of the proposed shareholders.
  • The name of a business is phonetically translated, not literally.

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By now you know much about the value a good business name in UAE holds. Sometimes, a unique company name and little branding gives a company extra leverage in the market. You have to tap on every opportunity to entice the users to win their hearts.

Once you have chosen your company name, the next phase is to register it. Furthermore, you may have to file for a trademark as well. Expert business consultants like KWS Middle East can help you in registering you company name in UAE.

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