Choosing a trade name in the UAE

Choosing a trade name in the UAE


Need a trade name for your UAE Business? 

Things to consider…

A clear, powerful name can have a great impact on your business success. Yet it’s often a challenge finding a suitable trade name. Many of the good business names are already gone. Plus there can be legal restrictions. Furthermore when operating across multiple languages and jurisdictions, it’s hard to find a name that suits all cultures. Jane Ashford and her team at PRO Partner Group help companies set up in the Gulf.  Here Jane shares her top tips for choosing a successful trade name in the UAE

1. Consider Acronyms

One of the first steps in setting up your business in the UAE or Oman is choosing a trade name. Yet there are some constraints to consider. In the UAE, you are not allowed to launch a new business made up entirely of acronyms. However if your brand name is already an acronym, you are allowed to set up a Branch Office in the UAE under that name. For example EY (Ernst & Young) or HSBC. In fact the law goes as far as to say that all Branch Offices or Representative Offices of foreign companies must have exactly the same name as their parent company. So, if your foreign brand name is already an acronym, you must continue to use it. However if you are setting up from scratch, no new names made up entirely from acronyms are allowed, you can have a composite name with an acronym at the start followed by the specific activities next within the name.

2. Reference your Trade Activity in the Name

An additional consideration is that the name must reference the business activity of the company and be reflective of at least one of the activities listed on the Trade License. This is often difficult for foreign business owners to comprehend as clearly this is not something that is required in many other countries such as the UK, Europe or the US.

3. Check Out Premium Words

There are some terms which will be more expensive than others. You can expect to pay a premium for names which include words such as ‘Middle East’, ‘International’ or Global’ for example.

4. Make Sure you have Trade Name Alternatives

During your planning phase make sure you workshop multiple alternatives for your business name. Sometimes your preferred name will already be taken or may be rejected during the application process. In this circumstance you will have to choose an alternative. Having multiple options means that your application will not be stalled and you will not have to choose a name in haste, which might not be the optimal.

5. Find out the Meaning of your Trade Name in Arabic

One of the most important considerations when choosing a trade name is what is its Arabic translation. You want to make sure that your chosen name is not offensive, conveys an appropriate meaning and can be pronounced easily. For example, there is no real p sound in Arabic and it is commonly translated as b. These simple steps should smooth your application and avoid any unintended embarrassment or mixed message.

6. Register the URL

Most of the good .com web addresses are gone now. But find out if your name is available with the local ending .ae or .qa or another one of the Arab country endings. Many new and wonderful URL endings are now available too. Like .tv for example. The trade name that you obtain from the Department of Economic Development (DED) does not have to be the brand name that you use for your website, business cards or email footers – it will be the name on the license and on your bank account however.

7. Make it Simple and Easy to Spell

A clear, memorable name can help your business grow. Simple considerations, like a name that is easy to spell is a reasonably good start. Names which are spelt like they sound, help internet searches and foreigners who may not have English as a first language.

8. Consider obtaining a UAE Trademark

The Trade Name that you obtain from the DED in UAE will not mean that you have the Trademark for this name. The DED will only cross-reference other Trade Names in the UAE, they do not cross reference Trademarks so it is possible that someone may come along in the future and lay claim to that name at DED by showing that they have the UAE trademark on that name in your business category.  Therefore it is worth considering also undertaking a trademark search in parallel and then also potentially registering the mark at the same time to protect your name and branch in the UAE

When choosing that all important company name in the UAE or Oman there are many things to consider.

The experts at PRO Partner Group specialise in providing foreign investors with advice on the most efficient and profitable way to set up your business in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE and Oman.


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