Choosing a name
A good business name can improve your company´s visibility. The name can be a deciding factor for your customers and others to remember you - and understand what you do.
Some people believe that the best names are those that describe what you do, while others prefer more abstract or made-up names. Many big companies use abstract names (IKEA, Apple, Rema 1000), while smaller companies within a specific industry and/or with a more defined geographical profile often choose a more descriptive name.
A descriptive name can be advantageous because it is informative and gives a clear association to who and what you are.
However, a descriptive name can also cause problems. Other people will be entitled to use names that are very similar to yours, and it can become difficult to distinguish your business from those of others. For example, if you register the name Blomsterbuketten AS, others will be able to register Blomsterbuketter AS. Similarly, if you decide to call yourself Valdres bilsørvis AS, you may discover that Valdres bilservice AS also operates in the same sector.
A name that describes which industry or geographical area you are operating in might be less than ideal if you are looking to expand your operations. Narvik Bil AS is not an ideal name if you want to expand your operations and start selling caravans in Harstad.
It is important to consider whether the name reflects the identity that you intend to create for the business, and whether it could be confused with the names of other businesses. Before you decide on a name, you should check if the domain name is available. You should also ensure that others do not have legal rights to the name.
Find out whether the name is available
At navnesok.no, you can find out whether the name you want to use is available as a domain name, enterprise name and trademark in a single search. When you are about to register, we suggest you follow this sequence:
- Register the domain name
- Register the enterprise name
- Register any trademark
NAMESEARCH – a collaboration between Norid, Brønnøysund Register Center and the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. Check your name at navnesok.no
Domain name first, then business name
It is often more difficult to find a good domain name which is available than it is to find an enterprise name which is available. Once you have found one or more domain names you want to use, you should register it immediately in order to prevent other people from using it. There are those who follow the announcements of newly registered businesses from the Brønnøysund Register Centre with the purpose of registering domain names that might be relevant. If your newly established business have not secured the domain name first, you may find that there might be additional work and substantial costs associated with securing the domain name that best reflects your business name.
If you choose a business name that is identical to an enterprise already registered in the Register of Business Enterprises, you will have to obtain the consent of the people who own the name and then enclose this consent when you register the enterprise. Thorough preparation will reduce the risk of you having to change your enterprise's name after you have spent time and money establishing a name and logo.
Requirements concerning enterprise names
An enterprise's name must contain at least three letters from the Norwegian alphabet. The name cannot only consist of the name of a country, county or municipality. Certain special laws impose limitations on the right to use particular terms in an enterprise's name. Examples of words that cannot be used freely are bank, savings bank, pharmacy and stock exchange.
Some titles are reserved for individuals and enterprises which possess particular qualifications. Examples of such titles are lawyer, registered auditor and state-authorised auditor, state-authorised estate agent and master.
It is possible to use a different name for your business than your official enterprise name. You could for example use this name on signs, as a logo or a domain name, etc. For example, the sole proprietorship Per Holm could register Grillbua as the name of its business. However, the official enterprise name of Per Holm must still be included on all business documents such as letters, websites and invoices.
You can register marketing names either at the same time as you register the enterprise or later. Whenever you register such names, you must use the Coordinated register notification. The fact that a name has been registered as a marketing name does not prevent other people from registering the name as an enterprise name. We recommend that you either register the marketing name as the name of the enterprise or as a trademark. If you use "Grillbua" as a marketing name you might be infringing on other registered trademarks or other registered enterprise names.
At navnesok.no, you can find out whether the name you are considering using is available as a domain name, enterprise name and trademark.
Protecting a name
In order to protect your enterprise name, you can register it in the Register of Business Enterprises. If you have a sole proprietorship, it is the full name, including your surname, which will be protected.
You can also opt to trademark-protect the enterprise name with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
Changing the business name
Changes to the business name is reported to the Brønnøysund register Centre via the Coordinated Register Notification.