When setting up your micro-enterprise, one of the most important aspects is choosing your name. Not only so that your business is identifiable and recognizable, but also because of the legal implications of its official name. In this article, we explain what the company name is, the steps to follow to register it, what are its main characteristics and how it will affect your billing.
What is the name of a micro-enterprise?
Just as people have a legal identification formed by their surname, first names, and identification number in the registers of their country (DNI, NIF), micro-enterprises will have a name or denomination established at the time of their constitution. This name is known as the corporate name.
The micro-business name is the specific name with which you will officially and legally designate a business, and which will distinguish it from other organizations. This denomination is included in the company’s constitutive act and identifies the legal entity and the business world. Therefore, it is used at the administrative, formal, and legal levels.
Is it compulsory for micro-enterprises to have a company name?
Analyzing the name of the company as if it belonged to a natural person, we could perfectly compare it with its full name, that is, the one that appears on the DNI and legally identifies it. The name of the company appears in the deeds of the company, in all legal documents, and even in the articles of incorporation of the company, so we speak of a fundamental name for it.
For this reason, all micro-enterprises are required to register under a business name that identifies it, both itself and all its members. This denomination offers security as to the legal nature of the company since it shows that it was established according to the procedures established for it. In the national territory, there cannot be two companies with the same company name, so this name becomes something unique that differentiates one company from the others.
It should be noted that, for simple or collective limited partnerships, there is a particularity when registering the company name. In this type of company, it is mandatory to include the name of one of the partners in the name. In other companies (anonymous, limited liability, limited by shares) an object or a business name may be used in the name, without the need to include a partner’s name.
Is the company name the same as that used by the company with the public?
Since we are talking about the “corporate name” of the company, we can come to think that the company name corresponds to the name that the company uses to make its brand known, that is to say, its name to the public. . The reality is that the name of the company does not match the name used by the company in the market and usually the regular consumers of the company do not know what this legal name is.
Using an example, imagine a couple is opening a bakery and it is time to register it legally, so they will need to choose a business name that identifies them among the others. They choose the name “Antonio & Marta SL”, registering accordingly in the Directory of Commerce and Companies. When opening the premises to the public, the couple decided to use another name for their commercial sign and placed the name “Pâtisserie Antonio” on their signs and social networks.
The first name, “Antonio & Marta SL”, is the name of the company, since it is the name that identifies the company in the legal field. Later, when marketing its brand, the company would identify itself in the market with the name “Pâtisserie Antonio”, which its customers would know them.
Criteria for choosing the name or company name of a company
You already know that to create a business, you must identify it with a name that does not already appear in the Directory of Commerce and Companies.
With your micro-entrepreneur status, you must have some clear ideas before asking for the name or the company name of your company, so it will be good for you to take these criteria into account before proposing the name of your company:
• To use the name of a natural or legal person, in whole or in part, you must obtain the authorization of this person.
• Activities not provided for in the corporate purpose of the company cannot be incorporated.
• Internet domains such as .fr, and .com, among others, cannot be included.
• Names that are identical or similar to others already registered with the RCS are not accepted, nor if they have the same phonetic sound or if the order, gender, or a number of another corporate name is reversed.
• Names that include expressions contrary to any law, or ideology, are not allowed.
The process of registering a company name
As the name or business name must appear in the founding documents of the company, the first thing you need to do is register the business name in the Directory of Commerce and Companies. This body will verify that there is not another company with the same reason or the same company name, since the law prohibits two companies from having the same name or one that shares the same terms, although in an order different, to avoid confusion.
The RCS will issue you a certificate confirming the non-existence of another company with the same name and with this, you can name your company.
To speed up this procedure, the INPI has a database of corporate names, which will allow entrepreneurs to consult a set of corporate names available so that they can be assigned immediately to those interested.
There are 6 months for the reservation of the company name which must be made by one of the partners. The negative certificate is valid for 3 months, and renewable for 3 additional months (if the company is not registered within this period, the name will remain free).
There are several ways to request a negative denomination certification:
• Directly to the offices of the RCS, with a certification request form.
• By mail: by sending a request or a letter to the offices of the RCS.
• Via telematics: by completing the existing form on the URSSAF website.
• Through the intermediary of the notary authorizing the deed of incorporation of the company. The Notary himself submits the request via the e-notary platform of the General Council of Notaries.
Can the name of a company be changed?
A company can change its corporate name. These changes are made in different ways depending on the legislation of the country to which it belongs, but in France, the following conditions exist:
• If the partner on which the corporate name appears loses his condition (in a public limited company or a limited liability company), it will not be possible to remove it from the corporate name, except in the case where this right has been reserved.
• If the same thing happens, but in a limited partnership, the partnership is obliged to change the name, whether or not the partner has reserved the right.
The process will be the same as for name registration, but before that, an extraordinary meeting must be held at which an agreement is reached for the name change. This change implies a reform of the articles of association so that the agreement must be recorded in an authentic deed and registered in the commercial register. The change of company name must be published in the JAL and then registered at the Business Formality Center (CFE).
How do you include the business name in your billing?
Once you have registered the name or business name, you need to consider what are the essential concepts to incorporate into your invoice template.
The tax administration requires that you always include the following information on your invoices: name or company name, address or registered office, and NIF of your company.
Therefore, even if you give your business a trading name, it should never be used in these business documents, as they would have no legal value.