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 procedures for changing them!
Company Name Availability
Before you select your company name, here are some important points to consider:
Needs to be unique
Show positive connotations
The Registrar also has their own set of criteria when choosing a company name:
Identical to a business or company in Singapore
Identical to a name being reserved by a business or company in Singapore
Instructed by the Minister to the Registrar not to accept trademarked registration (e.g. Temasek)
If your proposed name violates these rules, the Registrar will reject the proposed name.
TIP: Avoid company names that are similar, identical or phonetically the same as a company or business that is already registered for higher chance of approval.
Decided on your company name? Check if your desired name is available on our free tool – company name checker now.
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.
Singapore Company Registration with Identical Name
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:
A company that is dissolved, unless 2 years have passed from the date of dissolution following the winding up of the company or 6 years have passed from the date of dissolution following the name of the company being struck off.
A canceled business name whose registration has also been canceled or business ceased to exist unless 1 year has passed from the date of cancellation/dissolution
A foreign company name which has given a dissolution notice unless 2 years have passed from the date of dissolution.
A limited liability partnership name that is dissolved unless 2 years have passed from the date of dissolution in the case of winding up or 6 years have passed after the date of dissolution in the case of its name being struck off the register.
A limited partnership name that is dissolved or canceled, unless the aforementioned timeline is to be followed by companies who wish to register identical names. The Singapore Companies (Amendment) Act 2014 incorporated several other changes apart from the naming rules.
How to Change Your Company Name
It is very common for brands to change their company name. Check out the process to kickstart the process of changing your company name below!
Step 1: Choosing an appropriate name
Ensure that the new name meets the requirements of ACRA
Step 2: Applying for approval with ACRA
Submit your name change documents to ACRA
The process of authorising the name change is the same as registering a new company name
Step 3: Communicating the name change to other stakeholders
After approval by ACRA, you have to communicate the decision to other stakeholders
This can be done via a general meeting
The new name is approved if 75% of the shareholders with voting rights vote in its favour
To successfully execute a name change, you will need to submit the following documents/ information to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS):
Tax reference number
Previous name registered under ACRA
New name registered under ACRA
Once completed, IRAS will send a confirmation email noting that the change has been duly completed.
NOTE: 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.
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:
Right to exclusive usage of the mark
Barring others from copying it
Benefiting from the increasing market value of the mark
Branding through mark recognition
License for commercial use by third parties thus creating a source of revenue
Quality assurance for your customers
Up to 400% tax rebates from the Singapore Government under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme to offset the incurred cost for registering your trademark.
TIP: Company owners should confirm the name change with IRAS if they do not receive an email notification two weeks after ACRA approved the name change.
Need guidance on setting up a company in Singapore or looking to change your company name? Let us help – from incorporation to corporate secretary, we’ve got your back when it comes to corporate services! Contact us today for a free consultation.
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.