Company and brand names set the stage for your business success, and rightly so. Consider it like a first impression – your company name is one of the first things that customers see that could shape their overall brand perception.
The starting ground before you decide to incorporate a company is getting a name. Let’s go through the entire company naming reservation process, including how to check if your desired company name is available and the procedures for changing them!
How to check company name availability in Singapore?
Before you select your company name, here are some important points to consider:
The Registrar also has their own set of criteria when choosing a company name:
If your proposed name violates these rules, the Registrar will reject the proposed name.
Decided on your company name? Check if your desired name is available on our free tool – company name checker now.
Reserving company name in Singapore
After checking your proposed company name is available, the next step is to get them reserved with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
It is important to note that usage of words such as bank, insurance, university, and education in a company name could be subjected to control and regulation by Government authorities. This will require permission and appeal before you can proceed to set up the company. The appeal process will take 1 to 14 days in general.
Even after approval, the Registrar still has the discretion to direct you to change your company name if anyone lodges a valid complaint within 12 months of your incorporation.
A company name can be reserved for up to 120 days before registering the business. There are a few ways which a business name can be reserved.
Tips for Successful Approval of Your Company Name
To ensure a higher likelihood of your company name being approved, please consider the following before submitting the company name application to ACRA:
Procedure for Company Name Approval
The name approval application is filed online with the Singapore company registrar ACRA. If everything is in order, your name application will be approved quickly, in some cases, in less than an hour. Some name applications may be referred to the Referral Authorities for approval. In these cases, processing times can take between 14 and 60 days.
During this time, you will need to specify the primary and secondary activities of the business and choose the most appropriate Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code that accurately represents your business activity.
Can I register an identical company name that is currently owned by an inactive company in Singapore?
If you wish to reserve names that are identical to the names of inactive older companies or businesses, you can do so only after a certain period has passed from the date of their dissolution or cancellation. Section 22 of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2014 states that the Registrar will refuse an identical name of the company if:
How to Change Your Company Name in Singapore?
It is very common for brands to change their company name. Check out the process to kickstart the process of changing your company name in Singapore below!
Step 1: Choosing an appropriate name
Step 2: Applying for approval with ACRA
Step 3: Communicating the name change to other stakeholders
To successfully execute a name change, you will need to submit the following documents/ information to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS):
Once completed, IRAS will send a confirmation email noting that the change has been duly completed. This process is usually done by your company secretary.
Singapore Trademark Registration
Be it a Private limited company or a partnership, every legal entity can trademark their company names. It grants them the mark, the statutory right to use and exploit the mark in the jurisdiction of its registration and certain priorities and advantages in registering the trademark in other jurisdictions.
The benefits of trademarking your company include:
You can find out the process of Singapore trademark registration here.
ACRA will reserve your approved company name for 120 days.
A registered trademark is valid only for 10 years from the date of application. It can be renewed indefinitely for 10 years at one time by paying the applicable renewal fee.
The Business Names Registration Act was passed by Parliament on October 8, 2014. President Tony Tan supplied assent on November 6, 2014; its date of commencement was January 3, 2016.
The Business Names Registration Act only specifies which names may or may not be used. It does not specify the identities of the companies which are barred from doing so. Therefore, any company in Singapore may apply for a name change.