Negative certificate in Morocco
hanae belsakri
Writing By Hanane Belaskri

17.01.2023 | Bh Adviser | Morocco

Negative certificate Morocco : What You Need To Know

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Have you ever heard of a negative certificate? It is a document that gives you legal access to a business name for your company. However, it is not a document that absolves you of all other procedures for opening a business. How do you get a negative certificate? What is it for? And at what stage of the business start-up process do you need it? Here is everything you need to know about it.

Negative certificate in Morocco

What is a negative certificate in Morocco?

A negative certificate is a document that certifies that a company is the only one with a business name. This document is issued after several searches in the Moroccan business registers. To be sure of obtaining a negative certificate, it is necessary to have an unusual and rather original name. If the name that the company representative proposes is already occupied by a company, the negative certificate cannot be issued to the applicant.

What is the purpose of the negative certificate in Morocco?

This document is useful for the opening of any business. Let’s say that it allows all other social bodies and organizations to recognise your business by giving it a name. In this way, it is a kind of birth certificate, but one that only bears the name of the company and not its date of creation or other data that confirms its existence.

The negative certificate also allows you to apply for stamps and other legal documents (invoices, domiciliation, registration in accounts, etc.). It is with this document that you can apply to the commercial register for a legal number.

The negative certificate also makes it possible to defend oneself in the event of litigation if the company is faced with a usurpation or a problem of unfair competition. Only a company that asserts its negative certificate will be considered and heard by the relevant courts. With this certificate in hand, the company’s legal representatives prohibit others from using the same business name to carry out the same activity to avoid confusion in the minds of consumers.

At what stage of the business creation process is the negative certificate needed in Morocco?

The negative certificate is the first document you need to have before you start all the other procedures for registering the business with the authorities. Before you start registering or signing a lease agreement for the domicile, you need to be sure that the name you have chosen is valid, as this name will appear on all other documents. It would be a pity to have it appear on all the other documents and to find that it is already occupied! In any case, it is part of the documents to be provided for all the other stages of setting up a company. It is therefore essential!

For example, a bakery located in a residential area should have a neat layout, elegant finishes and luxury decorations to attract customers. On the other hand, a bakery located in a working-class area would be satisfied with the bare essentials in terms of interior decoration (display window, fridge, a few decorative elements and nothing else).

How to obtain the negative certificate for your company in Morocco?

The application for the negative certificate can be made online or by applying directly with the OMPIC (Moroccan Office of Intellectual and Commercial Property). When applying, an application form must be filled in with information about the legal representatives and the company being created. This form also includes the legal form of the company as well as the sector of the activity that will be carried out.

It is also important to note that at least three proposed names must be submitted at the time of application. The legal representative may, as a precaution, propose up to 5 different business names. The first name on the list that is free will be granted as the business name of the company. It is required to file different name proposals in order not to lose time in case the only name proposed is already occupied by another company.

If the 5 proposed names are already used by another company, the applicant has the right to make a new application free of charge within 30 days.

What is the waiting period after applying for a negative certificate in Morocco?

If the trade name has been taken by another company which was quicker in registering its business, the former holder of the name is obliged to apply again to OMPIC to obtain a new negative certificate for another name. If the legal representatives have not been able to register the new company in the Register of Companies before the 3 months have elapsed, it is imperative to apply for a new negative certificate to ensure that the business name is still available.

How long is a negative certificate valid and how can it be renewed in Morocco?

Even if you have a negative certificate, it is important to continue and complete the company’s declaration process. Indeed, the negative certificate is valid for 3 months after its date of issue. This means that after these 3 months, the trade name comes back on the market in a way and can be granted to another company. Thus, this certificate is rather a provisional agreement of acceptance of the trade name and only becomes final when the definitive creation is finalised within the time limit when the new company has been entered into the Trade Register.

As far as raw materials are concerned, experts in the field recommend around 2,500 dhs per day for the purchase of chocolate, butter, flour, sugar, cream and other useful ingredients. And, one cannot forget the packaging, and the dress of the team members, especially those in contact with the customers. All this can be charged at around 6,000 dhs per month. Then comes the depreciation of the equipment, which means that you have to set aside a monthly amount to be ready for each renewal of the depreciated equipment.

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