Can I re-use the company’s name or trading styles?

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Section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986 restricts the re-use of a name previously used by a company that has gone into liquidation; this includes a trading name or a name which is so similar that it suggests that there is an association with the failed company.

This restriction applies if;

  • You were a director or acted as a director of the failed company in the 12 months immediately before the date of liquidation
  • To any name used by the failed company in that 12 months

The restriction which prohibits a person to be a director or take part in the promotion, formation or management of as company using a prohibited name (and applies also to a partnership or a sole trade not just a limited company) for five years from the date of liquidation, does not apply if the other company had already been known by that name during the whole or part of the 12 month period and was not dormant in that time.

If you do not comply with this restriction or act as a director without leave of the court, you may be held personally liable for the debts of the new or successor company. You may also be committing a criminal offence. If you believe these restrictions may apply to you, you should seek advice on you own position.

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