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					BUSINESS AND COMPANY NAMES

Frequently Asked Questions


Q1     What is the difference between a company name and a business name?

A1     A company name is the registered name of a limited company, such as “XYZ
       Limited”. A company name must be registered with Companies House (see
       section 2(1)(a) of the Companies Act 1985).

       Not all businesses are companies and those that are companies may chose
       to trade under a different name from their registered name. A business name
       is the name under which the business trades. Except for registered company
       names and partnerships or sole traders who use their surnames as the
       business name, business names are governed by the Business Names Act
       1985. This Act applies to any person who has a place of business in Great
       Britain and who carries on business in Great Britain.

       If you have a question about corporate dentistry generally, please call:

                    Customer Enquiries Team on 020 7887 3800

                                      Or Email:

                              gdcregistration@gdc-uk.org


Q2     What role does the GDC have in relation to company and business
       names?

A2     The words “dental” and “dentistry” are restricted words under the Company
       and Business Names Regulations 1981. This means that anyone wanting to
       use these words as part of a company or business name must:

          obtain a letter of non-objection from the GDC
          obtain approval from the Secretary of State (Companies House)

Note: The titles “dentist”, “dental surgeon” and “dental practitioner” are covered
separately under section 39 of the Dentists Act 1984, which says that no one can use
these titles unless they are registered dentists or a visiting EEA practitioner entered
in the list of such practitioners.

       To obtain a letter of non-objection from the GDC please email us stating the
       proposed business name and business activity to:

                            businessnames@gdc-uk.org

       It would help us process your enquiry faster if you included the following
       information:

          Proposed business/company name
          Business activity, eg. dental suppliers, dental practice, dental laboratory
          Full postal address
          Your full name and (if registered with the GDC) your registration number.


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Q3   On what basis would the GDC object to the words dental or dentistry in
     a company or business name?

A3   The GDC is concerned not to let the name of the company mislead people as
     to the nature of the company’s business. The GDC’s policy is that a name
     involving the words dental or dentistry should clearly indicate the nature of the
     services to be provided. For example, a company requests the non-objection
     of the GDC to the name Acme Dental Services Limited. The GDC would
     object to this because it does not make it clear whether it provides dental
     treatment or not.

     We would suggest alternative names that would clearly indicate the nature of
     the services to be provided. For example, if this business was a dental
     practice, we would recommend the name Acme Dental Practice Limited, or if
     it was a company providing training to members of the dental team, we would
     suggest an alternative name that would clearly indicate the nature of the
     services to be provided, for example, Acme Dental Training Services Limited.

     Where the nature of the services to be provided is clear from the name of the
     company, we would not object.


Q4   Do we have to check whether the name being applied for is already in
     use?

A4   No. It is not the GDC’s role to check whether another company or business
     has the same name. Our concern is confined to whether the name will
     mislead. We can still give a letter of non-objection for a name that has been
     used before.

     Companies House will not allow a company name that is the same or very
     similar to another. Companies House also deals with business names on
     behalf of the Secretary of State. For business names, more than one
     business can have the same name as long as it doesn’t cause confusion.

Q5   How should people wishing to use dental or dentistry in a company or
     business name apply to us?

A5   The Companies Act 1985 and the Business Names Act 1985 both require that
     requests for letters of non-objection must be in writing. Therefore, we must
     receive a request in writing, which can be emailed to us, before we can do
     anything. The request should indicate the proposed name and the nature of
     the business. See A2.

Q6   Do we have standard response letters?

A6   Yes. We have two standard letters:

        Non-objection letter for a business or company name
        Objection letter for a business or company name

     These are sometimes modified depending on the circumstances

     We warn applicants that their business/company name has to be approved by
     the Secretary of State via Companies House, because otherwise someone
     may think that they can use the name once they have a non-objection letter
     from us (which isn’t the case).

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Q7      What about domain names?

A7      A domain name is an Internet address name. For example, the GDC’s
        domain name is gdc-uk.org. In some circumstances, the use of a domain
        name may be a business name for the purpose of the Business Names Act
        1985. If so, then the GDC will have to issue a letter of non-objection before a
        domain name containing the words dental or dentistry can be used.

Q8      Under what circumstances will a domain name be a business name?

A8      The Business Names Act 1985 applies to a person who has a place of
        business in Great Britain and who carries on business in Great Britain. If a
        domain name satisfies these criteria, then it may well be a business name
        (although see the notes below as to cases where it probably won’t be).

     (a) The place of business requirement will be a question of fact and can be
         ascertained by evidence that:

           business can be transacted through the website
           the business is aimed at customers in Great Britain
           a level of business is actually conducted by customers in Great Britain

     (b) The carrying on business in Great Britain requirement may be proved by
         evidence that:

           transactions are conducted through the website
           the domain name is used as a mark of identification
           the domain name serves as advertising for the business

        The domain name probably won’t be a business name if:

           the website simply involves a passive provision of information
           it is the access point for a business being carried on under a different
            name
           it used its registered company name as its domain name. The name
            would have had to be approved in the process of being registered


Q9      How do we deal with a domain name request?

A9      (a) Consider the request

        (b) Decide whether or not the GDC objects to the proposed domain name

        (c) Communicate the decision to the applicant (in the form of a letter of non-
            objection if appropriate) but always indicating that:

           The GDC’s involvement only arises within the terms of the Business
            Names Act 1985 and is dealt with in the same way
           Approval for the use of the business name must (if it falls within the
            Business Names Act 1985) be sought from the Secretary of State
           The letter of non-objection should not be taken as approval to use the
            domain name as a business name



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Q10    What if my business name does not include the words “dental or
       “Dentistry”? Do I need a letter of non-objection?

A10    No. You do not need a letter of non-objection from the General Dental Council
       if your business/company name does not include the words “Dental” or
       “Dentistry”.




April 2007




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