Regulations for registration of company trade names

Ministerial Decision No. 124/2016 came into force on 27 April 2016 and, in summary, prohibits the registration of company names that:

  • are a proper noun (unless it is the name of the business owner or partner) or the collective name of a tribe with the letters "Al" preceding it;
  • are identical or similar to the names of existing international or local businesses, similar to a registered trademark, or similar to honorific titles or symbols belonging to an international or local organisation;
  • suggest or hold a military, political or religious meaning or sense;
  • bear the word "Oman", "Omani" or a derivative thereof (unless it is a joint stock company); or
  • inaccurately suggest a geographical area of the Sultanate.

The key point to note is that the Decision changes the previous position that the word "Oman" (or a derivative) can be used in the name of any company, including limited liability companies (LLCs), provided the company has a paid-up capital of OMR 500,000. The law now permits the word "Oman" (or a derivative) in the names of joint stock companies only, prohibiting its use in the names of LLCs.

Existing LLCs with word "Oman" (or a derivative) will not be affected.

Amending regulations for Ministerial Decision No. 174/2014 relating to contracting businesses in the construction sector

Ministerial Decision No. 174/2014 (Regulations for the Organisation of the Activities of Enterprises and Companies Operating in the Contracting Business) (the 2014 Regulations) has recently been amended by the new Ministerial Decision 203/2016 which came into force on 31 August 2016 and applies to all businesses performing contracting activities in the construction sector.

The 2014 Regulations promulgated new regulations for contracting businesses in Oman and was issued to ensure that contractors (including business owners, authorised signatories and managers of contracting businesses) abide by the laws applicable to construction contractors. Some of the key provisions of the 2014 Regulations are that, all contracts entered into by contracting companies are to be recorded in a special register which government authorities may inspect, all signatories and managers of contracting companies are required to obtain relevant security clearance from competent authorities, all contracting companies are required to be members of the Omani Association of Contractors and the business activities of the contracting companies shall be limited only to that of contracting.

Pursuant to the 2014 Regulations, contractors were to implement the regulations by 18 June 2016. The new Ministerial Decision 203/2016 extends the implementation period. All construction contractors are to now implement the 2014 Regulations by no later than 31 December 2016, leaving just under three months for companies to comply.