Guide to Choosing the Right Name for Your Company in Singapore
Choosing a company name is an important decision for any business, typically the first step to establishing one. The name you choose will represent your brand and be associated with your products and services, so it is essential to choose wisely.
In Singapore, the process of selecting a company name is governed by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which has specific rules and regulations that must be followed. This guide will give you the knowledge and resources to choose a company name that will help you succeed in the competitive business world.
Pointers to Remember When Choosing a Name
Take note of the following steps for successful approval of your company name:
1. Get creative in coming up with a company name
While incorporating your industry or niche in the name, use puns or wordplay. A play on words can make your company name memorable. If you have a personal connection to the company or a unique story behind its creation, consider incorporating this into the name. A word from another language may help for a unique and exotic twist. But most importantly, a short and simple name is often the best choice, as it is easier for customers to remember and share.
2. Make sure it reflects your brand identity
The name should reflect your brand identity and convey your core values and mission. For example, if your company is focused on sustainability and eco-friendliness, choose a name that incorporates those values (e.g., “Eco-Wise Innovations” or “Green Life”). It should also match your visual branding elements – logo and colour scheme.
Lastly, consider how your target audience will perceive it. Will it resonate with them and create a positive impression of your brand? A catchy and memorable name, which the first pointer talked about, can help you establish brand recognition and make your company stand out in a crowded market.
3. Check for its availability on the portal
You cannot register a business name that is already registered by another business, so do run a check on BizFile+ if your preferred business name is still available. Type in your proposed name in the search bar at the top of the page and click the “Search” button.
4. Keep in mind the restrictions that can cause refusal for registration
The approval of a company name should comply with Section 17(1) of the Companies Act (2014). According to Section 17(1), the Registrar must refuse to register a person’s business if the business name is:
- Undesirable (i.e., names that are vulgar, obscene, or offensive, or if this name is similar to that of a government body)
- Identically to any other registered business name or name of any corporation or limited partnership
- Identical to a name that is reserved
- A name of a kind that the Minister has directed the Registrar not to accept for registration (e.g., Temasek)
Refer to some examples of business names regarded as identical under subsidiary legislations administered by ACRA (i.e., Business Names Registration (Identical Names) Regulations 2015, Companies (Identical names) Regulations 2015, Limited Partnerships Regulations and Limited Liability Partnerships Regulations)
|Complainant’s business name||Respondent’s business name||Reasons why the business names are considered legally identical|
|XYZ Company Pte LTD||XYZ Corporation Pte Ltd||Both ‘company’ and ‘corporation’ are disregarded where they appear at the end of a
|Royal Greenland Trading||Royal Greenland||‘Trading’ is also disregarded where it appears at the end of a business name|
|Caffebore International Pte Ltd||Caffebore Pte Ltd||‘International’ is disregarded where it appears at the end of a business name|
|Lipvine Pte Ltd||Lipvine||“Pte” and ‘Ltd’|
If you are the complainant, you must submit a name complaint application to the Registrar within 12 months from the date of registration of the respondent’s business name. Just remember that mere similarity between two business names is not a sufficient reason for the Registrar to allow a name complaint application. The legal test is whether the respondent’s business name ‘almost resembles’ the complainant’s business name as to be ‘likely to be mistaken for it’. There must be a very close resemblance such that confusion arises between them.
The Registrar may consider one or more of these non-exhaustive factors:
- Whether there are any distinguishing words or features in the names
- Whether the respondent and the complainant are in the same or similar fields of business activities
- Whether the complainant can provide actual evidence of confusion in mistaking the respondent’s business name for the complainant’s (e.g., documentary evidence like emails and letters from customers)
Below are a few examples of business names for which the Registrar would not direct a name change, because these names did not so nearly resemble each other.
|Complainant’s business name||Respondent’s business name||Reasons why the Registrar would not direct a name change|
|Fast Global Enterprise Pte Ltd||Fast Imports Pte Ltd||‘Global enterprise’ and ‘Imports’ are two sufficiently distinguishable words.
The first word ‘Fast’ is also a commonly used word in the English language.
|Geness Hotel Developments Pte Ltd||Geness Hospitality Pte Ltd||The scope of services connoted through ‘Hospitality’ and ‘Hotel Developments’ are not alike.|
|BeautynPlus Pte Ltd||Beauty N+ Pte Ltd||The symbol ‘+’ is not equivalent to ‘plus’, even if they sound the same. ‘Beautyn’ and ‘Beauty N’ are also not considered to be equivalent even if they may sound similar.|
The examples above are for illustration purposes only, and each complaint application will be thoroughly assessed on a case-by-case basis.
5. Register a business name that you can use globally
Your business venture should also anticipate global growth or advancement. In much the same way, it would be best to choose a name that represents your brand well anywhere in the world.
What to Do if Another Business’ Name Closely Resembles Yours
You may submit a name complaint application if you notice another business name that closely resembles yours with the following requirements:
1. Submit the name complaint application via General Lodgement in Bizfile+ and attach a document containing the information you deem relevant to support the application.
a. Business name/s in question
b. The number of companies in question
c. Their address
d. The types and locations of your business activities and customers
e. The reason for the application
f. Any actual evidence of confusion by members of the public in mistaking the business names
g. Any evidence of an injunction from the courts prohibiting the use of some words in your business name
2. Application fee of 200 SGD for each name complaint application (prescribed and non-refundable fee payable for each name complaint application).
3. The Registrar will assess the validity of the application. If it is valid, you will be informed in the portal to pay the application fee (via credit card and Paypal only).
4. Upon receiving the application, the Registrar may write to the company in question for a response or additional facts related to the complaint.
5. It takes approximately three (3) months for the Registrar to come up with a decision. The time taken to establish facts may extend beyond this period.
Choosing the perfect name for your business is crucial to successful company registration and incorporation in Singapore. By following the legal requirements, being creative, and taking the time to select a name that accurately represents your brand, you can give your business the best possible start. Remember, the name you choose will become a fundamental part of your company’s identity and paves the way for its growth and advancement.