Skip to main content

Which names are admissible for a sole proprietorship?

The admissible names for a sole proprietorship are somewhat confusing at first glance, so we explain in the following which names you can use and why.

One fundamental point up-front: a sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business, which simply means that it does not have its own legal personality (as opposed to a GmbH or an AG). It is directly tied to you as an individual, and this connection is evident in the limitations on naming the business.

What are these restrictions?

  • As a minimum, the name of the sole proprietorship must contain your last name. You may then add a suffix to your name. For example, if your name is James Jones and you are opening a bakery, you can call your company “Jones”, “James Jones” or “Jones Bakery”.

  • Additionally, your company name may not be deceptive. You cannot open a plumbing business and then call it “Jones Bakery”. In addition, abbreviations such as GmbH or AG are prohibited.

  • Because a sole proprietorship only exists in the name of one person, you are also forbidden to use additions such as “& Sons”, as this suggests a different legal form.

  • Legal protection of names is another restriction: Two individual companies that have their registered office in the same location and are entered in the commercial register may not have the same name. There must also be no likelihood of confusion. So, if there is already a “Jones Bakery” in Zurich, you must choose a name without any risk of confusion (e.g. “James Jones Confectioner and Baker”)

If you use Foundera to form your sole proprietorship, we will ensure that the name you choose passes the test.