The company name (raison sociale) is the official name of your company, it is a name that you freely choose when creating the company and which must then appear on all official documents and contracts of the company.
It should be noted that the company name only makes sense for a company, if your company has the status of a sole proprietorship it is your name, as an autoentrepreneur, which takes the place of the company name.
It is also important to distinguish the company name of the trademark or brand (marque ou enseigne) that the company may have from its acronym or sign.
The trademark is the one under which your establishment is known commercially by the public, a company can have several establishments which can have different trade names. For example, the “center catering company” (SRC) can operate two establishments, “the station coffee” and “the post office coffee”.
The acronym is one of the trade names by which a company is known. It corresponds to the diminutive or simply to the initials of the company name or the commercial name. For example SNCF (société nationale des chemins de fer Français).
Your acronym and your trade name can be registered with the RCS they will appear on your Kbis but this does not guarantee their protection, to protect your names you must make a request to the INPI.
What name can you choose for your company
There is not restriction on the choice of the name of your company, its name can contain letters, numbers and even the @ character. However, other typographic symbols and the € are prohibited. You should also not use words that could lead you to believe that you are carrying out a regulated activity if this is not the case, for instance “architectural firm” is not suitable if you are not an architect or “domiciliation business centre” if you do not have accreditation because they are regulated professions.
Is the name you have chosen available?
You will need to verify that another company is not using the same name as you for a similar activity or you will be exposed to an unfair competition complaint. The “www.infogreffe.fr” infogreffe site of the commercial register is at your disposal to carry out searches easily and free of charge.
If you wish to use your company name as a commercial name with the public, you will also have to make sure that the domain name and the trademark are available otherwise you will certainly be accused of counterfeiting and blocked in your commercial development. You will be able to check the availability of the domain name with its different extensions (.com or .fr etc…) with a domain name providers, be careful a simple request on Google is not enough; the name should have been purchased and not be used. The registration of the domain name is instant, simple and inexpensive.
As for the brand, it is the INPI which takes care of it (www.inpi.fr) and which provides you with digital research tools. It is a longer procedure which will make you choose the name, the class (activity) and the geographical perimeter (France, Europe other countries). A trademark registration can cost a few hundred euros for a class in France but much more for many international activity classes.
Can we change the name of a company
You can change the name of your company later, but it is tedious and will require you to change the company statutes and apply in the legal register. It is a strategic decision not to be taken lightly because you can lose years of notoriety. For example, Na & Co, our domiciliation company which supports this blog bought in 2015 the registered address business business of the company Norma Color in Antibes known for more than 20 years for this activity and many partners and customers recognize us more easily under this old name that we have not used for years.