What do King Kong, a dentist and the Prince of Wales pub have in common?

Even with the tie King Kong would need Cabinet Office approval to set up a company with his name.

Choosing a company name is an important early step for any business.

It helps to create the first impression of a company and has the potential to represent its unique selling point which grabs attention and attracts customers. Marketing and Digital agencies are often paid many thousands of pounds to assist their customers to chose that right name and the brand that will go with it.

Miss the spot, or get it wrong, and businesses can pay an expensive price.

There a therefore a number of things that need to be taken account when choosing a company name and in another article we offer our top 5 tips on choosing a great one. But to sometimes make it more complicated there are some words – ‘sensitive words’ as they are officially known – which need to be considered in the UK.

What are sensitive words in a company name?

Sensitive words are words or expressions which when used in a company name could imply a business pre-eminence, status or a specific function. The use of these words therefore requires approval in order to protect the general public from being misled by the name of your company.

Examples of sensitive words include:

  • King, 
  • Dentist, and
  • Prince.

So what do King Kong, a dentist and your local Prince of Wales pub have in common?

If any of them want to set up a company in the UK, which includes any of the above sensitive words in its' name, they will need to get prior approval from the relevant Public Authority, Government Department or other body specified in the regulations.

If setting up their company in England for example, the Prince of Wales pub would need to get an e-mail or letter of approval from the Cabinet Office. A dentist would need prior approval from the General Dental Council. Meanwhile, and no matter how angry he got about it, King Kong would also need Cabinet Office approval if he wished to use his own name as part of his new company name.

There are less sensitive words than their used to be

In recent times though the Government has reduced the number of words that are considered ‘sensitive’. These changes were made to simplify the rules and reduce the delays and costs associated with company names.

Previously sensitive words like ‘International’, ‘Group’ and ‘Holdings’, were taken off the ‘sensitive’ words list, along with others, to increase the options available to people in naming their company.

Unfortunately though for some such as King Kong, dentists and certain local pubs their ‘names’ and ‘professions’ remain sensitive and still require approval to be used in a company name.

Lightwork Business are here to help

Don’t worry too much though. Lightwork Business has set up our company name checker to flag up in real time if you choose a company name with sensitive words and guide you what to do next. So there’s no chance of you choosing a name you’ll not be able, or need permission, to use.

If you are at all unsure though about a word you wish to include in your company name please just get in touch and we'll be more than happy to help!


Already thought of a name for your new company or are you thinking of changing your existing company name? Check if it is available.

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