Name for a one-person business activity
In the case of a one-person business activity (or sole trader, in Polish: jednoosobowa działalność gospodarcza), the business name must include at least the first and last name of its owner.
Please note that when registering with CEIDG as an entrepreneur, you must provide your first and last name:
- in the following order: first name, middle name, last name, but whether you enter the middle name or not is your decision
- in the same spelling as in your identity document – however, you do not have to use capital letters only, the size of the letters is arbitrary, within the limits of correct spelling
- in the nominative form – for example "Jan Kowalski"
- and you should separate your first and last name with a single space.
This is in order for other economic operators to be able to identify accurately the person who operates the business. If you conduct a business in person, in a form of a one-person business activity rather than a company entered into the National Court Register, then you yourself are an entrepreneur, i.e. the subject of rights and obligations arising from this activity. For example, a decision issued by an authority in a matter related to your business will be addressed to your first and last name, not to the business name you use as an entrepreneur. As for the nominative case used for declined names, the reason is to avoid ambiguity. If it were permissible to use the first name and last name in other forms than the nominative, then the business name: "Warsztat samochodowy Dominika Wat" would raise doubts to a Polish speaker as to whether the car workshop is run by Dominik Wat or Dominika Wat.
You can add other elements to your first and last name e.g. to indicate the profile of your business: "Jan Kowalski Key Duplication", the place where you operate: "By the Swelinia River Anna Danuta Kowalska" or add your nickname: "Venus Anna Kowalska". You can also create a more fancy name, such as "Black Pearl Jan Kowalski". Remember, however, that such descriptions are ancillary in nature and must not be misleading, especially as regards the person of the entrepreneur.
Therefore, you should give a careful thought to your choice of the name for your business. Please note that you can be listed in CEIDG under one entry only. It is not allowed for one person to have more than one business activity registered in CEIDG at the same time.
Name for a civil law partnership
The naming convention in the case a civil law partnership is not regulated by law. For the sake of clarity, however, it is good if the name of a civil law partnership includes at least the first and last names of all partners, together with the mention of the legal form: "civil law partnership" or the abbreviation "s.c" (in Polish: spółka cywilna). For example, if the partners are entrepreneurs, Jan Kowalski and Jan Nowak, the civil law partnership created by them may be called, for example, "Kowalski and Nowak s.c.".
Name for non-registered activity
You do not need to give a name to your non-registered activity. When issuing invoices to your customers, all you have to include is your first and last name.
Name for a company branch
If your company is a legal person, it may have a branch. The branch name must include some specified elements. These are:
- full name of the legal person – that is, of the parent entity
- the word "oddział" (Polish for)
- the city, town or village where the branch has its seat.
If your company’s name is "Black Pearl sp. z o.o.", its Poznań branch should be called: "Black Pearl sp. z o.o. – oddział w Poznaniu" (branch in Poznań).
Name for a company registered in the National Court Register
In the case of companies and partnerships entered in the National Court Register different rules apply depending on the type of company. One of them is the requirement to provide the legal form at the end of the name, in a full or shortened version, for example, spółka jawna, spółka z o.o., S.A. (Polish for: general partnership, limited liability company, joint stock company, respectively).
In the case of a general partnership (in Polish: spółka jawna or sp.j.), the business name must include the last name of at least one partner, for example: "Kowalska, Nowak, Zając sp.j.", "Kowalska sp.j.", "Kowalska hairdressing salon sp.j.".
In the case of a professional partnership, the last name of at least one partner must be included, and if the last names of all partners are not included, also the words: "i partner" ("and partner) or "i partnerzy" ("and partners), e.g. "Kowalska legal advisers and partners", "Kowalska, Nowak and partner – sworn translators".
Please note! A professional partnership may be formed only by representatives of liberal professions.
In the case of a limited partnership (Polish: spółka komandytowa), the business name must include the last name or the business name of the general partner (the person or body liable with all their assets for the liabilities of the partnership). If the general partner is a company or partnership – for example, a limited liability company (spółka z o.o.) – you must provide its full name along with the legal form, e.g. "ABC sp. z o.o. spółka komandytowa".
In the case of a limited joint-stock partnership (Polish: spółka komandytowo-akcyjna), the name must also include the last name or the business name of the general partner. If the general partner is, for example, Black Pearl spółka z o.o. (Polish for limited liability company), you must provide its full name together with its legal form – "Black Pearl sp. z o.o. spółka komandytowo-akcyjna".
If your business is incorporated as a limited liability company or a joint stock company, the name does not have to include the last names or business names of the shareholders – you can generally give it any name you want.
Name of a company or partnership after the death of a shareholder or partner
In the event of the death of a shareholder or partner of a company or partnership, whose last name was a part of its business name, such a company or partnership may still keep his name in its business name. However, the family members of the deceased shareholder or partner – spouse and children – must first consent to this.
Name of a company or partnership after transformation
If you are going to convert a company, for example a general partnership into a professional partnership, and you want to change its name, at least for one year after the transformation when providing the name of the new company, you must also provide the previous name in brackets, adding the word "dawniej" (Polish for).
A general partnership Black Pearl has been transformed into a professional partnership White Amber. During one year after its transformation, it should use the following name: "White Amber sp.p. (dawniej Black Pearl sp.j.)".
Name of a one-person business activity received in inheritance
A one-person business activity acquired in inheritance and run by a succession administrator operates under its former name with the addition of the words "w spadku" (Polish:).
"Vehicle Mechanics Jan Kowalski w spadku".
Proprietary and misleading names
The use of certain words in a business name is reserved only for entities that provide services in a specific field. Examples include the words: "bank", "towarzystwo ubezpieczeń", "klinika" ("bank).
The name of the business must not also be misleading as to the nature of its activity.
You cannot impersonate another entrepreneur either. Operating on the same market e.g. selling goods with the same function (for example, carbonated drinks), a new entrepreneur cannot name their company "Coca-Cola" or "Pepsi".
Checking the availability of a name
Before starting a business, it is worth checking if the name you want is not used by another Polish or foreign company for the same or a similar type of business. This will help you avoid potential conflict with such a company and allegations of unfair competition or infringement of trademark rights. If you want to know if there are already companies with the same or similar name to yours, enter the name you chose in the search engine of entrepreneurs in the CEIDG and KRS databases. Also check the results for the selected name in a web browser.
You can also check if the name you have chosen is not a registered trademark. If, as a result of the check, it turns out that the name is registered by another body for goods or services that coincide with your business profile, for the safety of your business it is worth choosing a completely new name or changing it.
You can also use the help of a patent attorney who professionally deals e.g. with matters of the possibility of registration of trademarks.
Changing the name of your business
You can change the name of your business at any time. However, remember to follow the rules described in this article. For example, you cannot remove your first and last name from the name of your one-person business activity. However, if the business is called, for example, "Jan Kowalski – Black Pearl", you can change the phrase "Black Pearl" to something else. To do this, change the company details in CEIDG. Importantly, after changing the name of your business you do not need to correct invoices and contracts that include the old name. This is because they also contain the first and last name of the entrepreneur, that is you, and these have not changed.
If you change the name of a company or partnership registered in the National Court Register, notify this change to the National Court Register.