Reserving a name for a new company
What’s required when you apply to reserve a company name
Reserving a company name is the first step to incorporating a new company on the Companies Register.
Before you apply to reserve a name, you'll need to make sure it's available, and that it meets our criteria for a suitable name. There is a fee of $10 (plus GST) for reserving a company name.
On this page:
- Checking that a company name is available to use
- Applying to reserve a company name
- If your company name is rejected
- If your name reservation is about to expire
- If someone else is going to incorporate the company
- Changing the name of a company
- Reserving names of overseas companies
1. Checking that a company name is available to use
The Companies Act 1993, and various other laws, contain rules and guidance on the naming of companies. For example, under the Companies Act, the name you choose cannot be 'identical or almost identical' to that of another company or a reserved name. There are also certain names the use of which is restricted or protected by legislation.
How you can check your proposed company name
A company name is separate from a registered trade mark – reserving or registering company names doesn’t give you trade mark rights. You might unintentionally infringe a trade mark if your company name is confusingly similar to someone else’s trade mark and you are trading in the same or similar goods and services.
ONECheck from Business.govt.nz allows you to check if a company name is potentially available. It provides:
- the ability to check registered company names, web domains and social media usernames in one simple search.
- a measure of the originality of a trade mark, on a sliding scale.
- an explanation of the difference between a company name and a trade mark.
2. Applying to reserve a company name
If you're incorporating a new company, you must use your name reservation within 20 working days.
Reserving a company name online costs $10 (plus GST).
What you'll need to reserve a name
To reserve a company name, you must have:
- a RealMe® login
- an online services account with the Companies Register.
How to apply to reserve a name
To reserve a company name, follow these steps.
- Log in to your online services account.
- On your dashboard, select the entity type from the drop-down menu.
For example, a New Zealand Limited Company or Overseas ASIC company.
- Enter the company name you’d like to reserve.
The name of a limited liability company must end in 'Limited' or 'Tapui Limited'.
- Confirm the availability of the name using the 'Auto check'.
This step should not replace your own checks, as described above.
- Select who you are incorporating a company for — yourself or your employer.
- Upload any supporting documents, for example, if you have written approval to use a restricted word.
- Select 'Submit' and complete the payment process.
What happens next
When you submit your request to reserve a company name, we’ll check that it isn’t offensive, restricted, identical or almost identical to any other name on the Companies Register.
We process most requests that are submitted during our normal business hours within 2 hours. Our normal business hours are 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. Some name reservation requests require further checking, so we may not be able process them on the day they are submitted.
When we've approved your name reservation request, we'll send you email confirmation giving you 20 working days to incorporate your company before your name reservation expires. If your choice of name is rejected, we’ll tell you why it was refused.
3. More information about reserving a company name
If your company name is rejected
You’ll need to complete a new reservation and pay an additional fee of $10 (plus GST).
If your name reservation is about to expire
If you’re running out of time to incorporate, you can reserve the name you’ve chosen for a further 20 working days. This can be done on the 19th or last day of a reservation period, and there is an additional application fee of $10 (plus GST).
To reserve a company name for a further period, you must:
- have an online services account with the Companies Register
- be the person who reserved the name or a member of the organisation, if reserved by an organisation.
Then follow these steps.
- Log in to your online services account.
- On your dashboard, look under 'My unfinished business' to find the company names you've reserved.
- From the list provided, select the name you wish to reserve for a further period and choose 'Continue'.
- When prompted, answer 'Yes' to 'Name reservation'.
- Complete the payment process.
A pop-up screen will appear confirming that you've successfully reserved the company name for a further 20 working days. We'll send you an email confirming the new reservation details.
If someone else is going to incorporate the company
If you've reserved a name, but another authorised person or organisation will complete the process of incorporating your company, you can transfer your name reservation to them.
Changing the name of a company
To change the name of an existing New Zealand or overseas company, you’ll need to use our ‘Change company name’ service.
Reserving names of overseas companies
If you’re reserving a name for an overseas company, it must be identical to the name used to register the company in its home country.