Checking the Availability of a Company Name with CIPC
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One of the major changes brought about by the New Companies Act that will affect start-ups is the availability of business names.
Under the new Act, name reservation is no longer mandatory before registering a company.
If a proposed name is rejected the company may still be registered and the registration number then becomes the name of the company at incorporation until an appropriate name has been reserved.
Furthermore, symbols are allowed in company names and all languages are accepted.
To register a business name, you need to complete a CoR 9.1 form. The fee for a manual application is R75 for each name, while electronic is R50. You should indicate up to four alternatives to be considered for reservation in the listed order while only one will be registered.
You are also required to indicate whether any word, number or other element constitutes a registered trademark, and provide supporting documents for an associated name. The applicant of a name reservation must be the applicant on the new company registration documents, and will need to include a certified copy of their ID.
Searching and securing a company name
The new process does not require business owners to check that the name is available before the business can be registered. The CIPC will check the name against existing registered businesses and reject the names that are too similar.
It is still possible, however, to check whether the company name you prefer is reserved but clicking on ‘Additional Services’ on the CIPC’s website. You will then be re-directed to the old CIPRO website and will see an entry field under ‘Name Search’ on the left of the webpage.
Alternatively, you can reserve a name on the CIPC’s website. By doing so you will be informed of its availability. To reserve a name online you need to do the following:
Step 1: Visit CIPC Site
Log onto the CIPC website
Step 2: Register
Register as a Customer. If you are not an existing customer, click on ‘Customer Registration’ to register and complete the required fields and submit.
Step 3: Payment
Before filing your documents you must ensure that you have enough funds available for the required transactions. Deposits may either be made at the CIPC walk-in centre in Pretoria, bank deposit or EFT payment.
Once the deposit is reflecting within your account, you may continue to file your applications. You may confirm whether your deposit is reflecting by logging on to the CIPC website, clicking on Additional Services, then Customer Log In, Customers, Customer Transactions, Selecting the date period, and Show Statement.
Step 4: Login
Login as a customer by clicking on Customer Login. Type in the Customer Code and Password selected at Customer Registration. Click on Login.
Step 5: Preliminary Search
Once logged in the E-services page will display. Select ‘Name Reservation’ option on the E-services landing page. Select ‘Proposed Name’, here you should provide a maximum of four possible names in order of preference. Only one name will be registered.
A name may consist of number, letters, certain special characters (only () @. ‘) or a combination thereof. The system will do a preliminary search on the names provided and indicate any possible comparative names or any problematic words that has been used that may result in the application being rejected.
Step 6: Successful name selection
After the preliminary search, a screen will display to indicate which names were successful. If you want to test more proposed names you can select back, otherwise you can select lodge name reservation. The next screen will then confirm that the name has been lodged, and provide you with a tracking number.
Step 7: Confirmed name reservation
Once your proposed name has been approved you will recieve an SMS and email confirmation of the name reservation, along with the tracking number of the name reservation.