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Putting up a company is already challenging itself, and the first experience of this you will get when selecting the company name for your venture. Often you find confused about which names are allowed and how to select a name. A company name has to carry the company brand, appeal to the customers, and stand out among the competitors and in the entire industry. Most importantly, a company name must comply with state laws and be available for use.
According to ACRA, a company name must not imply any of the following so as not to cause anyone with feelings of unease or distress:
If a company name already belongs to an already existing company name, then it will not be approved by ACRA. For example, our company name is Epica Consulting Pte Ltd, and if you try to register that as your company name, then it will not be approved on the grounds that such company name already exists.
Certain words are not approved to be used in the company name in Singapore. This is passed via a ministerial order. Currently, “Temasek” is the only prohibited word for company name use in Singapore.
Normally in this category, ACRA will not outright reject a company name falling under this category. This company name will then be referred to ACRA officers for approval. Hence, if ACRA officers will find out that such company name is similar to an existing large overseas brand, then it will be immediately disapproved. However, if that existing large overseas brand is one of your businesses, then you will not face any problems provided that you show sufficient reasons to use the same company name, and ownership of the foreign brand.
Some examples of these large overseas brands are Tesco, SAP, Oracle, and PayPal. Many of these company names might already have their offices in Singapore; in case they do not have any yet and if someone tries to register a company name like theirs, then the referral process will be triggered.
Nevertheless, please be reminded that this mechanism is only an approximation if your company name will get approved or not. The real result will be known only when you actually try to register the company name and pay for it. Afterward, ACRA will send a confirmation via email, confirming whether your company name has been approved or not. If someone files a complaint within 12 months (probably after recognizing that your company name is similar to theirs), then you may be directed to change your company name.
Company names are only reserved for up to 120 days. After that, these names will be available for use upon appeal. ACRA also allows businesses to use the company names of cancelled or closed businesses after a certain period of time upon appeal.
The use of “bank,” “insurance,” “university,” and “education” in a company name could be controlled and regulated by the Singapore government. Including any of these words in a company name will require an additional authorization process that may take 1 to 14 days.
If you are a foreign business owner intending to register a company in Singapore and want to use the company name that was registered in your home country, then you will have to verify if your company name is still available for use here in Singapore. If not, then you will have to modify your existing company name by probably adding words, such as “consulting,” “solution,” “services,” “corporation,” and so on.
Try having at least two to three words when coming up with a company name as using a single-word company name is getting difficult to process at ACRA nowadays. When we tried registering Epica Pte Ltd at first, it was rejected because there were already too many company names that contain “Epica.” Thus, we modified our name to “Epica Consulting Pte Ltd.”
If your company name is very common or adding an additional word, like “consulting,” would not work, then try combining the additional word with another one (Epica Consulting Services Pte Ltd).
The more words there are in a company name, the easier it is to get it approved. The only downside to that is having a long company name.
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