Dubai: If you are planning to start a business in Dubai, coming up with the right name for it can be a daunting task. While you might want to get creative, to ensure that your brand name stands out, it is important to keep in mind that trade names for businesses in Dubai are issued by the Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET), which has strict guidelines that should be adhered to if you want the name to be approved.
This is why business set-up experts in the UAE recommend coming up with at least two or three options for your trade name, before you go in for reserving it and not getting too attached to any one particular name.
If you are still brainstorming on the right name for your business, make sure it does not violate any of the following guidelines issued by DET:
1. Alphabets and numbers are allowed but you cannot use icons or special characters.
2. The trade name can include the partner’s or owner's first and last name but it shouldn’t be the last name alone. For example, Ahmed Al-Ghamdi Properties; not Al-Ghamdi Properties.
3. A trade name cannot include Allah’s names or his divine attributes. Also, names of countries, regions, areas, sects and organisations that are already registered and known names of brands and establishments are not allowed.
4. It is not allowed to reserve a name starting with words like ‘Universal’, ‘Middle East’, ‘International’ and/or translating them into Arabic.
5. It is important to note that the trade name database is based on pronunciation, so you should identify similar sounding names in both English and Arabic by searching through the database, to ensure other companies haven’t registered using a similar name.
6. Also, remember that your business’s primary activity will be added to the trade name. This is why it is important to ensure that the trade name is not the same as the activity name.
7. The trade name should be appropriate, and should not contain obscene words, or have words that offend modesty and violate public decency.
8. The name should not include any of the names of countries, capitals or governments, except with the approval of the embassy of the country.
The website of DET also informed entrepreneurs that once you register a trade name, it is reserved for a period of six months. After that, the trade name will be automatically canceled if you do not get a trade licence issued under the reserved name. Also, DET has the right to cancel or change the trade name if it is similar to an existing trade name or if it does not comply with the established terms and conditions.
When do I need to reserve the trade name?
Reserving a trade name is one of the first steps you need to complete during the business set up process, along with getting an initial approval from DET. This process costs around Dh1,000 in Dubai. To get a detailed breakdown of the total cost of setting up a business in the UAE, read our detailed guide here.