Deciding whether or not to trade as a company or a sole trader is one of the many decisions that your team at Sidekick will be able to talk you through.

A common misconception though is that a company registration means you own the rights to use that company name to promote your goods or services. However, this is not true.


(a) The Companies Office will let different people register very similar names

For example, one person could register Sidekick Limited, someone else could register Sidekick 2024 Limited, and someone else could register Sidekick Christchurch Limited. The Companies Office role is to oversee the governance of a company through its directors and shareholders, it doesn’t refuse registration based on a name being similar to someone else’s name.


(b) Even if you get a company registration you may not be able to stop others using similar names

For example, just because you are able to register “New Zealand Soap Limited”, this doesn’t allow you to prevent others from describing their soap as “New Zealand soap”. A company registration can’t be used to prevent people from using normal language to describe their goods and services.


(c) Even if you register a company you may not be able to use the name in trade

The mere fact that a company name is available to register, does not mean that you can use it as if someone else owns a trade mark that is the same or confusingly similar to that name they may be able to prevent you using it.

For example, even if you were able to register Sidekick 2024 Limited as a company, as Sidekick owns the brand “Sidekick” for various accounting and business services, any use of the name in relation to their goods and services would infringe their rights and could lead to suspension of your online sites, or injunctions and other legal actions.

The team at Sidekick will be able to help you determine when its time to incorporate – make sure though that you register your trading name as a trade mark too as soon as possible to ensure you are the only one allowed to use the name.

For more information including tips for registering your trade mark yourself check, or contact Rachel Triplow at aRc Legal on