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Company Name Changes – Are You Protected?
Monday 16th February 2015

Many people will have sought to obtain a certain company name in the past only to have been frustrated by the seemingly unfathomable rules. Often you will find that names aren’t available because they include certain words that make the proposed company name the “same” as an existing company name, even if it isn’t the same at all. Well, as of 31 January 2015, the rules have changed, and while the changes will make it easier to obtain company names, it may actually leave some companies more exposed.

This is because certain words have been removed from the “same as” list. Those words are “export”, “group”, “holdings”, “imports”, “international” and “services”. So, by way of example, if you have the company name “Brabners Limited”, that will no longer prevent someone from registering “Brabners Group Limited” as its company name. However, it may still be possible for rights holders to bring a complaint for an opportunistic company name registration, or court proceedings for trade mark infringement or passing off if a similar company name is registered and/or used by a third party.

Companies should consider whether they want to, for example, change their name or incorporate dormant subsidiaries to protect against certain company names being registered.

Whilst having a company name registered does prevent someone from registering the “same” company name, it doesn’t fully protect any intellectual property that you have in the company name. Companies should always consider if any of their names, be it their registered company name or their trading names, need to be protected (for example by way of a trademark). Further information about protecting your intellectual property can be found in the IP section of our website.

It is also worth noting that, as part of the same new legislation, UK registered companies can now use “accents, diacritical marks and ligatures” in their registered company name – for example, your company name can now include the word “café”, when in the past it would have had to be “cafe”. Words that are spelt the same, just with an accent or mark on one or more of the letters, will be regarded as the “same”, however.


Including commission and bonuses in holiday pay calculations
Tuesday 7th October 2014

Recent cases have called into question the approach taken by employers towards calculating holiday pay. The potential inclusion of commission and bonuses in holiday pay calculations has serious consequences for employers in sales-driven industries like the motor trade, in terms of budgeting for historical liabilities and future increases in holiday pay.

Recent cases

In Williams v British Airways plc the CJEU held that as well as basic salary, a pilot’s holiday pay calculations should have included reference to a flying allowance of £10/hour for time spent in the air (because the allowance was “intrinsically linked to performance”).

In Lock v British Gas Trading Limited the CJEU held that a sales consultant’s commission (which represented approximately 60% of his total earnings) should have been included in his holiday pay calculations. The rationale was that workers must not be deterred from taking holiday or be placed at a financial disadvantage by doing so.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decisions are awaited in two cases concerning whether overtime should be included in holiday pay calculations, but are expected to go in favour of the employees.

The decisions have wide implications for the automotive sector because other types of incentive payments could also be regarded as “intrinsically linked to performance”. There is a high risk that performance-related bonuses should be taken into account when calculating holiday pay (depending on how the schemes are structured).

Action plan

  1. Analyse how many employees within your organisation will be affected by these decisions and how their pay is comprised.
  2. Review all your bonus, commission, overtime and allowance schemes. Consider if you need to change how you calculate holiday pay for your staff.
  3. Agree on your business strategy for addressing potential liabilities created by workers making back pay claims.

At Brabners we have specialist knowledge in the automotive sector, servicing clients throughout the UK. We would be pleased to advise on holiday pay entitlements and calculations which might apply within your business, and strategies for dealing with potential claims. Please contact (Head of Automotive Sector) or (Employment specialist) with any queries.