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Navigating Trade Name Registration and Compliance in the UAE's RAKEZ Free Zone
March 1, 2024

Selecting a suitable trade name is crucial when establishing a company in the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) Free Zone. It’s imperative to understand and adhere to the following essential guidelines governing trade name registration to ensure smooth process and compliance set forth by the RAKEZ and the Federal Tax Authority (FTA).

Key guidelines governing trade name registration:

  • Suffix Requirement:

A fundamental requirement stipulated by both RAKEZ and the FTA is the inclusion of a specific suffix in the trade name, reflecting the legal structure of the company. The options include: FZE (Free Zone Establishment), FZ LLC (Free Zone Limited Liability Company), or Branch.

  • Naming Options:

To ensure availability and compliance with the stringent regulations enforced by RAKEZ, prospective business owners are obliged to propose three distinct trade names during the registration process or when requesting a name change.

  • Language Preferences:

Trade names are only accepted in Arabic or English, with no provision for combining both languages within a single name.

This mandate aims to promote clarity and consistency in business identification within the Free Zone.

  • Reservation Duration:

Upon approval, the reserved trade name is safeguarded for a period of up to two months from the date of issuance of the Performa Invoice. This timeframe, as prescribed by RAKEZ and endorsed by the FTA, allows sufficient time for the completion of necessary formalities leading up to company registration.

  • Uniqueness:

This requirement serves to prevent confusion and potential conflicts within the Free Zone. Names that bear striking resemblance or are identical to existing entries in the RAKEZ database will be rejected, emphasizing the importance of conducting thorough due diligence prior to proposing a trade name.

  • Waiting Period for Re-registration:

As per FTA guidelines, a trade name cannot be re-registered under the same name until a minimum of one year has elapsed since the company’s deregistration or name change. This measure aims to prevent the unauthorized reuse of trade names and promotes transparency in business dealings within the Free Zone.

  • RAKEZ’s Authority:

While prospective business owners are responsible for proposing trade names, the final authority regarding the appropriateness of a trade name rests with RAKEZ.

  • Name Change Process:

To change an existing company name, adherence to this formal process is required, which includes obtaining a shareholder resolution and submitting the necessary forms. Upon fulfilling all requirements, a “Certificate of Name Change” is issued, validating the change in the company’s name.

  • RAKEZ’s Recommendations:

RAKEZ may request modifications to proposed trade names if deemed necessary to comply with regulations.

Trade Name Restrictions:

In addition to the guidelines outlined above, both RAKEZ and the FTA have established strict restrictions on the content and composition of trade names to uphold the integrity of the Free Zone.

These restrictions include:

  • Prohibited Content:

Trade names suggesting affiliation with religious, political, or governmental entities. Additionally, names that could potentially mislead stakeholders, such as those implying unauthorized banking or governmental functions, are also forbidden.

  • Use of Personal Names:

The use of personal names in trade names is permitted only if the individual in question is a shareholder or owner of the company. This aims to ensure transparency and accountability in business ownership.

  • Compliance with Laws:

Trade names must not violate any applicable UAE laws and regulations. This includes adherence to intellectual property laws and other relevant statutes governing business operations within the Free Zone.

  • Intellectual Property Considerations:

While trade name registration offers a degree of protection, it does not fully guarantee intellectual property rights. As such, seeking legal advice on intellectual property matters is strongly recommended regarding trademarks.

Trade Names Rejected by RAKEZ:

In line with the comprehensive guidelines established by both RAKEZ and the FTA, trade names that fall under the following categories are subject to rejection:

  • Religious References:

Trade names containing references to religious entities or concepts are not permitted, as they may infringe upon the religious sensitivities of stakeholders within the Free Zone.

  • Governmental Affiliation:

Names that imply affiliation with governmental entities are strictly prohibited to prevent misleading representations of business affiliations.

  • Trademark Infringement Risk:

Trade names that bear resemblance to established brands, thereby risking trademark infringement, will be rejected to uphold the integrity of intellectual property rights within the Free Zone.

  • Cultural and Legal Standards:

Trade names that could potentially offend or contradict the cultural and legal standards of the UAE are not accepted, as they may undermine the harmonious business environment cultivated within the Free Zone.

  • Misleading Names:

Trade names that mislead stakeholders about the nature or scope of the company’s business activities are subject to rejection, in alignment with FTA guidelines promoting transparency and accuracy in business representations.

Adhering to these guidelines will facilitate a smooth registration process and ensure your trade name complies with RAKEZ Free Zone regulations.

Remember, seeking professional advice can provide valuable assistance and ensure your chosen name fully aligns with legal and regulatory requirements.

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Information provided on the site is merely guidance that may change in line with UAE law and regulations. Users must not consider this to be financial advice or their sole resource when making any financial decision. Theta7 is a trading name for THETA 7 Accounting & Bookkeeping L.L.C, an authorised & licensed accounting firm under the Ministry of Economy and the Federal Tax Authority of the United Arab Emirates.
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