What is a “Trading As” name?

A “Trading As” name, is generally known as a name used by a company to carry out its business, which is not the same as the company’s name registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (“CIPC”).

Historically, many companies in South Africa had a registered name with the CIPC,  but traded under a different name, known as its “Trading As” name.

Companies used a “Trading As” name for various reasons, such as, the “Trading As” name was familiar to their clients as opposed to the registered name with CIPC, or a “Trading As” name was used to differentiate between the different departments or products within the company.

However,  the question that remains is, whether “Trading As” names are permitted in terms of the current South African law.

Section 80(1)(a) of the Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 (“Consumer Protection Act”), states that a person may file a notice with the CIPC in the prescribed manner and form, and with payment of the prescribed fee, to register any number of business names being used, or to be used, by that person in carrying on the person’s business. This indicates that a company may be permitted to use more than one name, thus allowing the use of a “Trading As” name.

However, in terms of Schedule 2(5)(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, as read with Section 80 of the Consumer Protection Act, the provisions of Section 80 of the Consumer Protection Act does not take effect until a date determined by the Minister by notice in the Gazette. To date there has not been a notice in the Gazette to give effect Section 80 of the Consumer Protection Act and thus using multiple names for a single company, such as a “Trading As” name is not yet permitted.

As a result of Section 80 of the Consumer Protection Act not yet being written into law, it would thus mean that the use of a “Trading As” name is not yet permitted, and use of a “Trading As” name would currently be considered a contravention of the Consumer Protection Act.

There is also an additional risk in using a “Trading As” name, as the “Trading As” name being used by one company may be the registered name of another company. This would be potentially misleading to consumers and the public and, therefore, is not permissible.

Section 32(4) of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008, requires a company to have its full registered name and registration number on all official documents and correspondence issued by it, the Companies Act does not refer to “Trading As” names or similar and the CIPC currently do not have a platform to register multiple names for one company.


Corporate Statutory Department