A business name is a name used for a business which-  

  • In the case of an individual or partnership, is different from the name(s) of the proprietor(s), and
  • In the case of a company, is different from the company’s corporate name.

All business names must be registered. It is an offence to operate a business under a business name which has not been registered.
The law regarding business names is set out in the Registration of Business Names Act [Chap. 78:46, Registration of Business Name (Amendment) Act 20 of 2001, the Business Names Rules, 2011 and the Business Names (Fees) Rules, S.R.O. 35 of 2001.

The application form is slightly different depending on whether the applicant is a sole trader, a partnership or a company. The forms are:

  • Form BN1 Application for Registration of a Business Name by an individual
  • Form BN2 Application for Registration of a Business Name by a firm or partnership
  • Form BN3 Application for Registration of a Business Name by a company

The forms can be completed using our e-filing system. This will enable CIPO to start reviewing your application as soon as you have entered the information. You will need to print the completed forms and obtain signatures before delivering them to CIPO and paying the registration fees.

The rules governing the choice of name are set out here.