Registration of Business names and Addresses

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

There have been a number of recent developments at CIPC – the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission – which will tend to affect businesses of all kinds.


In the past, the only time you were required to register a business, or trade name, was if the business was to be owned by a company or a close corporation.  In this case, business owners had to go through a process of name selection and acceptance, before registration took place.

The CIPC are in the process of formalising trade name registration for ALL businesses, regardless of the entity that owns them, and even sole proprietors will be required to register a trade name in future.  This is still in the formalising process and the effective date is still not known.

However, there is some good news: all businesses which have been in existence for more than a year before the final implementation date, will not be affected; and until the implementation date, there will be no prohibition on the use of trade names.

There will no doubt be some problems with duplication after the effective date, so we are recommending that all our clients, who fall into this category, apply for registration of trade names as soon as possible after its implementation.  We’ll keep you informed on this.


It has been common practice for many years, for companies and close corporations to have their registered address the same as that of their auditor or accounting officer.  CIPC have recently released Practice Note 2 of 2012 on the interpretation and application of Section 23 of the Companies Act, 2008 and Regulation 43 of the Companies Regulations, 2011, which deals with registered offices of companies.

This was in response to a recent High Court case in the Western Cape, where the court found that the registered physical and postal address of all companies (and this would also apply to close corporations) should be the same as their actual physical and postal addresses – not that of their auditors or accounting officers.

We will be contacting all our clients directly in this regard, but generally, we recommend that if your business is a company or close corporation, you take steps to ensure that you make the changes to the entity’s physical and postal address as soon as possible.