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  • Trade names​

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  • Introduction

If you are a trader in the UAE, this guide explains:

  • how to register an acceptable trade name
  • how to use and dispose of your trade name
  • your obligations arising from title to a trade name​
  • What is an acceptable trade name?

If you are a trader you must have your trade name entered into the commercial register.
For a trade name to be accepted onto the register, it must:

  • not be already registered
  • include, in the case of an individual trader, the trader’s first name and family name
  • not be the same name as is currently used for the same activity or business activities
  • include a distinguishing feature, such as the nature of your business, if it is similar to another previously registered trade name
  • not mislead the consumer as to the type of trade and its importance or size
  • not breach public order or morals
  • be compatible with the nature of the business you intend to practice
  • not contain the name of Allah (God) or sectarian names
  • not include the names of the ruling authority or slogans belonging to a local, regional or international organisation
  • not be identical or similar to any local or international trade name or brand that is registered with the Ministry of Economy​
  • Registering your trade name

To register a trade name, you need to:

  • fill in an application form for registering the trade name
  • submit the form and any other required documents to the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi
  • pay the required fees
The documents you will need to supply along with the application form are:

  • a photocopy of your Emirates ID card and passport
  • your family book if you are a UAE national
  • a photocopy of a valid residence visa if you are not a citizen of the UAE or a Gulf Cooperation Council country
Once the trade name is entered into the commercial register:

  • you will receive your trade name certificate
  • the trade name may not be used by any other trader in a similar trade
If you remove your trade name from the register or fail to renew it, other traders may use your trade name after one year has passed.
Find out more about registering a trade name on the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development website.
  • Trade name registration fees

The fees for registering trade names are as follows:

  • registration of trade name: 200 AED per month
  • registration of special names, such as city and country names: 1,200 AED per month
  • registration of trade name of a joint stock company (public or private) or a branch of a non-UAE company: 1,200 AED per month
  • registration of trade name for branches of UAE institutions or local companies that have already registered a trade name: no fee​
  • Using trade names

You must:

  • display your trade name on the front of your business premises
  • use your trade name when carrying out your commercial transactions
You may not dispose of your trade name separately from the business to which it applies.
Changes in business ownership
If you dispose of your business, your trade name will not be included unless specified otherwise.
If you buy a business, you must obtain permission from the former owner before using the trade name previously allocated to the business.
If you buy a business without its trade name, you are not liable for the obligations of the former owner unless you have agreed to assume these and the agreement has been entered in the commercial register.
If you buy a business with its trade name, you will assume from the previous owner all rights and obligations related to the name, unless agreement to the contrary is entered in the commercial register and all concerned parties are notified of such.
Your liability for the obligations of the former owner will lapse five years after the business was transferred to you.
  • Penalties

If you breach this law you may be imprisoned and/or fined.

  • Further information

This guide is for reference only. For legal advice please contact a UAE lawyer.
Find out more about registering a trade name on the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development website.
Reserve a trade name on the Abu Dhabi e​Government Gateway.
Search for and register a trade name on the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development website.
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