Bad Company: Rude Limited

By Brand Heeler

The fun and games to be had when registering a company’s legal name.

When you set up a business in most jurisdictions such as the UK and Australia, you can call it pretty much anything you like as long as your proposed name isn’t already taken and isn’t going to be confusing or fraudulent. Oh, and it mustn’t be offensive either. Much fun was had earlier this year when Companies House – the UK’s official corporate register – published a list of names they had rejected over the last 12 months.

None of the rejected names seem like a great loss to modern commerce – and most are too rude to reproduce here. ****** Limited and **** ***** Limited, for example, are completely beyond the pale, and as for **** **** **** Limited, well, the less said the better! Royalty gets special protection too. You can’t register anything which might falsely suggest a connection to the Crown, which would explain why the otherwise unobjectionable ‘Royal Nuts Limited’ might have found itself on the Companies Houses list. Mind you, we’re not sure what’s so wrong with ‘Titanic Holdings Limited’. Or ‘Slag Limited’, either – perhaps they do indeed trade in industrial by-products..? But who wouldn’t want to run around with Blue Arsed Fly Designs Limited? And Cat Sh*t Coffee Limited seem to specialise in civet coffee, so fair enough. 

Knowing how the British like to carry on, many companies are tempted to include some ‘witty innuendo’ in their names, but there are limits and we can certainly see why the more coarse, sexual or misogynistic suggestions got rejected. And there is a serious side to this silly season story – a public system for the incorporation and naming of limited liability businesses is essential to a modern functioning economy and is not something which should be subverted for cheap laughs (although plenty of us seem to like doing it).

Everyone’s got their own standards, of course, and there’s plenty of scope for disagreement – we would LOVE to know the story behind ‘This Is Not A Rude Company Name As My Freedom Of Speech Was Limited’! There’s also ‘Rude Limited’ (which clearly isn’t, but points for effort), and ‘This Is The Company With The Longest Name So Far Incorporated At The Registry Of Companies In England And Wales And Encompassing The Registries Based In Scotland and Northern Ireland Up Until And Including The Current Date Limited’ (which isn’t rude, but just plain silly). It’s good to know our sensibilities and our corporate names are in safe hands, even if occasionally a marginal call sneaks through – ‘Hoof Hearted Limited’ and ‘Fur Cough Limited’ might cause a snigger or two in Corporate Law lectures across the land but is unlikely to threaten civilisation as we know it!

This article contains our thoughts and opinions on an issue of general interest and is written from the perspective of Australian and/or English law. It is not legal advice and is not provided in the context of a solicitor-client relationship. It may not even be relevant to your jurisdiction. No duty of care is assumed or accepted. Please carry out appropriate research and consult with a suitably qualified legal expert before taking any action or making any decisions.