Reserving a Company Name in Germany

Reserving a Company Name in Germany

Updated on Monday 14th September 2015

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Reserving-a-Company-Name-in-GermanyBusiness names according to the German Corporate Law

The Companies Law in Germany was last amended in 1998, some of the amendments bringing drastic changes to the company name reservation and approval prior to the registration procedure. According to the new business legislation, German companies entered in the Trade Register may choose between a name derived from the business’ objectives, proper or invented names. Also, a relevant appendix regarding the type of company to be incorporated must be used. The following appendices must be used when registering a company in Germany:

  • - GmbH for limited liability companies,
  • - AG for joint stock companies,
  • - KG for limited partnerships,
  • - OHG for general partnerships.

A company’s name must not be misleading and must be unique. In order to verify a business name’s uniqueness one must check the name with the German Commercial Register.

Are there any special requirements for business name reservation in Germany?

Not all individuals conducting commercial activities are required to register with the Trade Register. Sole traders in Germany, for example, are not required to register. However, they are subject to certain requirements when choosing a business name. German sole proprietorships are required to use their first and last name in their undertakings. Additionally, they may use other letters or industry names if they desire.

General partnerships in Germany are always required to include all partners’ names when conducting business activities. Additionally, they may also use other letters or names. However, it is always a good idea to verify the names with the Trade Register or even with the Patent Office in order to make sure the business name is not registered as a trademark in Germany.

Company name reservation in Germany

Once all the verifications are performed and the founder has chosen the appropriate name, he or she may reserve the name with the Commercial Register and submit it for approval. Company name reservation is the first step towards company registration in Germany. Foreign and local investors must obtain the company’s name approval from the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The cost of the registration in Germany depends on the type of company to be incorporated.

If you require help in reserving a business name or incorporating a company please contact our German lawyers.