Doing Business

Regulations on Company Name in Singapore

Nora Setiawan

September 18, 2020

Selecting a name is the most important decision when incorporating a new company. The image of a business that you want to create will be reflected through its name. Registration of the company name will also protect the name and no other company allows to use the same registered name.

This article focuses on the selection of Singapore company names, along with applicable naming regulations and procedures which are required when deciding a name for the new company. Let’s keep reading the article!


Selection of Company Name in Singapore

Regulations of company name in Singapore

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) will approve the name of a company, but they will refuse a proposed name if it is similar, identical or phonetically the same as a registered company.

The use of certain words such as “bank”, “insurance”, and “education” could be subjected to control and regulation by other governments and require permission before proceeding to incorporate.

According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the following are matters you must consider when selecting a name for your company or business. However, the registrar will reject a proposed company or business name, if the name is:

  1. Undesirable (if it is obscene and includes religious name)
  2. Identical to any registered name of a company, corporation, business, partnership, limited liability partnership.
  3. Identical to any reserved name as per the Business Registration Act 2014, Limited Liability Partnership Act, or Limited Partnership Act.
  4. Not accepted by the Registrar as per the directions of the Minister.

You are required to exercise caution and avoid selecting names that resemble the name of another because the Registrar has the delicacy to direct you to change your company name if another company or business has a valid complaint within 12 months that your name resembles their company’s name or is likely to be mistaken for it.


The Regulations on Determining Identical Names

The companies (Identical Names) Rules and Business Registration (Identical Names) Rules were enacted pursuant to the news. 27(2D) of the Companies Act and s. 11(10) Business Registration Act.

They are rules set out what the Registrar will consider as identical:

  1. In determining whether one name is identical to another, the following shall be disregarded:
  1. “The”, where it is the first word of the name;
  2. “Private”, “Pte”, “Sendirian”, “Sdn”, “Limited”, “Ltd”, “Berhad” and “Bhd”;
  3. the following words and expressions where they appear at the end of the name:
    “company”, “and company”, “corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Asia”,“Asia Pacific”, “International”, “Singapore”, “South Asia”, “South East Asia” and “Worldwide”;
  4. any word or expression which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is intended to represent any word or expression in sub-paragraph (iii); (v) the plural version of the name; (vi) the type and case of letters, spacing between letters and punctuation marks; and

b. The symbol “&” is deemed to have the same meaning as the word “and”

The rules also allow for the Registrar to refer the parties in dispute over the use of a name to mediation before giving any direction for a name change.


Guidelines on Searching for Identical or Similar Names

  1. For names with initials, key in the various combinations of the proposed name.

Eg. If the proposed name is “AB Trading”, the possible ways of checking are: AB, A B, A.B, A. B, A-B, A – B, A&B, A & B, ANB, A N B, A ‘n’ B, The AB, The A.B, The A&B, etc.

  1. Check for names with similar pronunciations.

The possible ways of checking for similarly pronounced names are:

Eg. Wah, Wa, Hwa, Hua, etc. Sing, Seng, Sin, Sen, Xing, Xin, Shing, etc. How, HaoYen, Yan, Yian, Yien, Yuan, etc. Chong, Chung, Cheong, CheungCity, CitiClassic, Classique, Klassic, Classic, etc. Express, Xpress, X’press, X-press, etc. Yew Fa, Yew Fatt, You Fa, Yu Fa, Yewfa, U Fa, etc.

Eg. If the proposed name is “The Fashion”, the possible ways of checking are: Fashion, De Fashion, De-Fashion, De’ Fashion, De. Fashion, D. Fashion, D-Fashion, D Fashion, D’ Fashion, etc.

  1. Check for similar names, but in different sequence(s).

Eg. If the proposed name is “Gift Express”, please also check for “Express Gift”. If the proposed name is “Bags Big and Small”, please also check for “Bags Small and Big” / “Big and Small Bags”, “Small and Big Bags” etc.

  1. Check for similar names dealing with a similar trade or in a similar industry. Also, check for words with similar meanings as the proposed name.

Eg. “Rose Transport” is similar to “Rose Transportation” / “Rose Forwarding”, etc. “Bob Construction” is similar to “Bob Renovation” / “Bob Contractor” / “Bob Builder”, etc. “Red Fashion” is similar to “Red Boutique” / “Red Apparel”, etc. “AB Trading” is similar to “AB Marketing” / “AB Enterprise” / “AB Import & Export”, etc.

  1. Note that each of the following common descriptive words is considered similar to those mentioned the same line:

i) Trading; trade; marketing; enterprise

ii) Investment; holding

iii) Construction; building; builder; build

iv) Contractor; renovation contractor

v) Systems; solutions; information technology; I.T.; technologies

vi) Travels; traveling; traveler

vii) Movers; transports; logistics

viii) Freight forwarders; freight forwarding, express.

  1. Graphical words and phrases, including names of countries and places, are not considered distinguishing or descriptive.

Eg. “Hello Trading” is similar to “Hello Trading International” / “Hello Trading Singapore”, etc. Conversely, “Comfy Sofas South-East Asia ” is similar to “Comfy Sofas”, etc.

  1. Punctuation marks are not considered to be sufficiently distinguishing or descriptive.

Eg. “Happy! Hamsters” is similar to “Happy Hamsters” “Faraway Tour” is similar to “Far-Away Tour”

  1. Check for similar company and business names, whether the proposed name is for a company or a business.

Eg. “Square Chocolates Pte Ltd” is similar to “Square Chocolates Trading”, etc. “Loud Music Enterprise” is similar to “Loud Music Inc.” / “Loud Music Pte Ltd”/ “Loud Music Sdn. Bhd.”, etc.

These are the regulations on company names in Singapore, and deciding a company name is quite difficult, as the name we choose is probably similar to other companies. Thus, these are rules and guidelines for you to set out the company’s name.

READ MORE: Viettonkin Consulting incorporation service

In conclusion, you need to remember that a company cannot be incorporated without a name while deciding a name, and reserving it is one of the first steps. The name of your company should be selected after careful observation of the regulations of the Companies Act. Choosing the identical name should be avoided too, and if the name that you select is not online with the law and regulation, it will either be rejected in the first place, or you will get complained against as per the procedures provided by ACRA.

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