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Accounting firm name - not (exactly) unique

Accounting firm name - not (exactly) unique

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I know there was a topic a few months ago about naming a practice that descended into well, you know, the moderators had to get involved. Anyway I have decided not to use my own name as it is not catchy and people are always spelling it incorrectly.

It is just so hard to find a unique name. It's holding me up in printing business cards, doing website etc and I am wasting valuable time which I could be using something more useful. (I am in full time employment for another 2 months.)

I found one I like that is similar to another large multinational company name except that I'm going to change the last letter. The other company also has another word in front of it which is what it is normally known as. This name is also a registered trademark. The company sells POS services. (For example: I want to use the name Captivo and there is already a company called Soprano Captiva but usually known as Soprano.)

I'll just be a local accounting practice with a registered business name. Am I worried about nothing? Will the big boys come after me? Will trading as a company help?

I've only seen it once in practice where a local barber named his business Al Capone's (or similar) and a chain of restaurants with the same name came after him and ordered him to change it.

Thank you!

PS: Just in case my other half reads this, I know there are no "levels" of uniqueness. Poetic licence used in my post title.

Replies (18)

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By Monty Python
23rd Sep 2011 23:42

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I'm old fashioned and believe that professionals should trade under their own name, however, that said, if you want to find a name think about it logically.

 

Will you be using a web site to find work?  If so what do peope usually google when looking for an accountant?  They put the word accountant or accounts, and usually an area or town name.

So, if for example, you are based in York, the people looking for an acountant are going to Google "York" and "accountant".

So why not call yourself York Accountants and be the first one they see everytime.  Or spread the net wider and call yourself Yorkshire Accountants, or Yorkshire Accounting Services"?   You get the idea ?

If you really dont want to be Blogs & Co, then a reference to the area you are in (and want to draw your clients from) makes sense.

I would avoid some of the more tacky names that some practices have used recently, you really dont want to sound like one of the firms at the cheap & nasty end of the market (I assume).

If you dont want to use your name or the town / county youre in, then something simple (assuming its not been used before, Oak Accountancy (conjuring up images of solid dependable oak trees) or something like that.

 

 

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By Cardigan
24th Sep 2011 07:39

Business name
Thanks for your reply. I'm thinking along the line of Oak Accountancy etc. My area name is gone as a domain name although that's not the firm's actual trading name.

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By DMGbus
24th Sep 2011 07:55

Be careful...

In the 1920's a small bus company in Derbyshire started using the name "Felix Bus Services" with a cat symbol alongside it.

Then...

In early 2009, "Felix the Cat Creations Inc.", a large United States company, approached Felix and claimed it owned copyright for images of cats used next to the Felix name. While it provided no evidence, Felix decided they couldn't afford to fight any court case, so as a result all cat images were removed from every aspect of the company.

[source: Millar, Alan (March 2009). "US lawyers chase cat off Felix fleet". Buses Magazine (648): 14.]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/walsall1955/4920228379/

So here's an example where a seemingly completely innocuous use of a name / picture became a potentially costly legal issue   This was a bus company, but I've seen the same sort of thing happen with hairdressers too.   If you really want a fight then try using "Easy..." in the business name!

It all comes down to attitude of the similarly named company.   Personally I would:

Avoid using a similar nameChoose another name and record / retain permanently (computer web pages) Google searches that find nothing similar

 

 

 

 

 

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By Cardigan
24th Sep 2011 09:45

That's what I was afraid of
Thanks DMGbus. That's exactly the kind of thing I am afraid of. Even the act of writing the post made me think that the similar name wasn't a good idea.

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By Monty Python
24th Sep 2011 10:35

Nissan

In the States there is a whole new industry built up around trade names. There are firms (ambulance chasers) who literally scour the net trying to match up firms names to see if one of them could claim from the other. 

 

Look what happened when Uzi Nissan used his own surname -

http://www.nissan.com/Digest/The_Story.php 

 

- so nothing is safe, not even your own name.

 

Hell, I'm expecting a lawsuite any day now from John Cleese et al over my pseudonim.

 

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By Cardigan
24th Sep 2011 11:09

Suitably scared now

Well, after reading that Nissan story I think I will abandon any thoughts of going into business altogether ;)

I just checked to see if there was any other accountant with My Name & Co and there is one no more than 30 miles away. They don't have any web presence whatsoever except for their name and address on a few listings sites, but still...

Back to that drawing board for me.

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By Monty Python
24th Sep 2011 14:02

.

I take it Toyota Accounting, is out then :)

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By Steve Holloway
24th Sep 2011 14:31

This is all a bit of a blow ...

clients said my new name was apt for an accountant. I was quite surprised when Who Wants to be a Millionaire Limited was available though!

 

On a serious note, my wife (Dance teacher) tells me that the BBC own the term 'Strictly' in relation to any dance based event and will send men with baseball bats around should you go near it. I think this is a bit rich as they clearly nicked it from the Baz Lerhman film 'Strictly Ballroom'! Also I see some tiny charity ended up in court for branding an event with the 4 numbers '2012' which owned by Seb Coe's bunch. Cue HMRC being sued when they issue the 2012 tax returns I guess! 

 

 

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By JohnPrice
24th Sep 2011 14:54

Own name

I used to practice under my own name, but found that I was being confused with other professionals of the same name. So I now practice under the name of my house - Duncountin

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By memyself-eye
24th Sep 2011 20:26

Like that..

I try to emulate my clients -or how I would like them to operate.

'Dunfiddling' seems appropriate

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By Sarah Offord
24th Sep 2011 21:15

Bodgeitt and Leggitt & Co

I've always wanted to be Bodgeitt and Leggitt & Co but my other half refused to let me.

Killjoy.

 

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By Richard Willis
25th Sep 2011 21:26

Where I live we have a local coach/bus company called 'Whippet'.

Their logo is a picture of a running whippet.  Of course the similarity to a greyhound is purely a matter of scale!

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By ShirleyM
25th Sep 2011 21:36

If the local bus company grew ....

... they could rename it the wolfhound

You won't find a hound bigger than an Irish Wolfhound :)

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By Monty Python
25th Sep 2011 22:51

-

 

On that basis our local bus company would have to adapt a one legged asmatic tortoise as it's logo as they never run on time and often dont run at all.

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By Richard Willis
26th Sep 2011 09:38

Monty

or a picture of me!!

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Should Be Working ... not playing with the car
By should_be_working
26th Sep 2011 18:32

Family history
I delved into the family history for my firm's name (though not very far) when I left the firm I was working for and didn't want them to pick up on the clients I was taking with me. Many years on, and I'm still using it. It's also useful in filtering out sales calls as they ask for Mr.X (of X & Co.) instead of me.

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By Owain_Glyndwr
26th Sep 2011 18:45

Now there's a thought .........

......... if you were "rebranding" HMRC I wonder what character you would use for their logo ?

 

A laughing Hyena comes to mind ..................... or maybe a Sloth ?

 

 

 

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By ShirleyM
26th Sep 2011 18:48

We catch out the sales pitches too

My hubbie is a director of my company, mostly for convenience in case anything happens to me, and the sales callers always ask to speak to my hubbie ... never to me ;)

Oh ... and they have always spoken to him previously and he asked them to call him back ... 

 

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