The names of firms determine their fate

Czech Republic: The rules concerning the business designation of private individuals and companies have somewhat changed under the new Civil Code.

Anyone who wishes to start a business has to make a number of key decisions – and the choice of a good name for one’s business certainly ranks high among them. This will be the name under which the business will be entered in the public record (i.e., the Commercial Register) and under which it engages in legal relations and transactions (such as the execution of contracts, or dealings with public authorities).

One’s business name ought to satisfy the requirements of the law, as well as those of good marketing.

As for the former, these are found in the new Civil Code. As before, the unity principle applies (i.e., each registered business has one, and only one, designation), and as before, business names are prohibited if they are apt to confuse (because of their similarity with the name of another business) or to mislead (as to the identity of the business, or the kind of industry in which it operates). One big change of the law gives self-employed entrepreneurs who are subject to registration in the Commercial Register much greater freedom in their choice of a name for their business. No longer does this name have to incorporate their first name and surname (and e.g. pseudonyms may be used freely). However, the general public must be able to deduce from the name at first glance whether the business is a one-(wo)man operation or a legal entity.

From the vantage point of marketing, the name ought to give a fair idea of the firm’s line of business, and at the same time set it apart from the competition, so as to ensure effective targeting.

In addition, a good business name ought to satisfy certain additional criteria – in particular, it should:

       be unique;

       be appropriate;

       evoke trustworthiness;

       be easy to remember;

       be easy to pronounce (also for foreigners);

       be of adequate length;

…and last but not least, allow for a corresponding domain name that is not yet taken (which can be checked e.g. at

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