Company name of sole proprietorships
In general, these rules also apply to entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.
The Business Service Portal has provided an electronic start-up facility since 31 July 2017. The official channels required for incorporation are available electronically, except for the electronic registration of a company name in the companies register.
Sole proprietors who are obliged to prepare accounts must also register their business in the companies register (registered entrepreneur). The obligation to prepare accounts applies to businesses with an annual turnover of more than 700,000 Euro. Further information about the accounting obligation can be found in the chapter Registering sole proprietorships in the companies register.
Entrepreneurs who are not registered in the companies register must trade under their forename and surname. They cannot use a company name which is protected under the Companies Register Act.
Entrepreneurs registered in the companies register can use invented names, factual names (e.g. timber merchant) or personal names (forename, surname) as company names.
If a sole proprietorship is registered in the companies register the company name must include the indicator "eingetragene Unternehmerin"/"eingetragener Unternehmer" (registered entrepreneur), which can also appear in the abbreviated form ' e.U.'.
Certain rules must be obeyed when looking for a suitable company name. A name and any additional elements (business or brand name, indication of the nature of the business) can only be registered as a company name if they are not misleading.
The company name must identify the business and distinguish it from other businesses.
Entrepreneurs or their legal representatives must therefore check both the likelihood of confusion and the similarity with other company and trade names or signs. A search in the companies register the trade mark register, the telephone book or on the internet (domain name search) can be a useful way of doing this.
We recommend seeking the opinion of the competent Austrian Federal Economic Chamber regarding the company name. Presenting this opinion when applying for registration in the companies register can speed up the registration process before the courts.
The forms for this must be requested from the competent Wirtschaftskammer (Economic Chamber), completed and returned to it.
You can visit the portal of the Wirtschaftskammer Österreich ( WKO) (Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) or arrange a personal meeting with one of its start-up advisors to obtain advice about choosing a company name.
- Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (→ WKO)German text
- Choosing the right company name (→ WKO)German text
- Sections 17 to 20 and 189 of the Unternehmensgesetzbuch (UGB)
- Firmenbuchgesetz (FBG)
- Federal Ministry of Justice
- USP Editorial Staff