Company Name

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A company name isn’t something you can just pick without thinking for quite some time. Whatever name you choose will be your unique identity, so we recommend that you select a name that defines the kind of image you intend to portray. Before you incorporate your company, you need to decide on the name and register for it on Bizfile.

This guide will highlight the essential things you need to consider while thinking of a name for your company. So kindly read on to see the tips we have for you.

Tips to Choose a Company Name

No Obscene Names

Obscene names may be considered unsuitable under section 7 of the Business Names Registration Act. This is because obscene names can make people feel distressed or uncomfortable, so it’s better to avoid using them.

Use Caution around Certain Words That May Need Additional Licences

Certain words will make regulatory bodies inspect the name you have chosen more closely than usual, and additional licences may be required to use them. Some of the words that can trigger closer inspection include “Academy”, “university”, “education”, “insurance”, and “bank”. Whenever you use these words, your application for registering the name would be sent to the authorities linked to that particular sector like the Ministry of Education (MOE) or Ministry of Finance (MOF).

You can’t use already existing names

You need to check that the name you wish to use is not identical to any reserved or active business name approved by ACRA.
If you realise that another company has reserved the name you wish to use, you can decide to wait it out since reserved names can’t be held longer than 120 days. Also, ACRA can allow you to use the name of another business that no longer exists or has dissolved.

How to Use the Search Function on ACRA

You can utilise the Entity Search Function to check whether the name you have in mind is already reserved or identical to the name of another entity. However, we recommend that you go through the search guidelines published by ACRA to use the search function properly.

  • You shouldn’t only search for your full business name but also for some parts of the name you intend to use and its variations. For instance, if you want to use BestLetter Stationeries, you should search for “BestLetter, Best Letter, or Best-Letter” and other variations.
  • Also, you should search for names that sound like the one you intend to use. For instance, if the business name you wish to use has the word “arm”, you should search for “am”, “harm”, and every other name that sounds the same.
  • Also, search for names with the same spelling as the one you are proposing but with a different sequence. For instance, if you want to use “Five Two Six”, you should check “Two Six Five”, “Five Six Two”, and other variations.
  • Another thing to search for is business names with similar meanings as the name you want to use. For instance, if you wish to use White Car Gaming, you should check names like “White Motor, White Automobile, and White Machine”.

Similar-Sounding Names

Once the search is completed, the site will list out the company names similar to yours. A specific list of elements or words can be disregarded when verifying whether the name you intend to use is similar to an already existing name. They include the following:

  • Any suffix related to the kind of legal entity the business is (e.g. Pte for Private or Ltd for Limited)
  • The word “the” (for instance, ‘Unique Pinnacle Software Pte Ltd’ and ‘The Unique Pinnacle Software Pte Ltd’ are considered the same)
  • The plural form of the name
  • Certain words or expressions appearing at the end of names like International, corporation, Asia Pacific, Singapore, or World Wide (e.g. Unique Pinnacle Software and Unique Pinnacle Software International are considered the same for ACRA purposes)
  • The case and type of letters, punctuations marks, and spacing

Although ACRA seems strict about identical names, it’s still possible to use a name that is similar to an already existing name. For example, some new and upcoming companies do so with the intention to benefit from the success of an established company. However, we don’t recommend this because the already established company can sue you, especially when the established company believes that your new company is limiting their business.

Must “Trading Name” Be the Same as the “Legal Name”?

If all the names you want to use are taken, you might be wondering whether you can use a different trading name from your legal name. The answer is yes! If you feel that the legal name available for use isn’t good enough to be your trading name, you can decide to use another name on your signage. For instance, your company name might be Unique Pinnacle Software Technologies Pte Ltd and yet have a logo under the name “Unique Pinnacle”.

Unlike other countries, you are not required to file your trading name with ACRA. However, you are required to disclose your company’s unique entity number and underlying registered name. Hence, your legal company name must appear on your contracts, website, invoices, and every other ‘official’ documentation.

We recommend that you check that none of your competitors or other companies in your industry is using your trading name.

Change of Business Names

You may want to know whether your past contracts have to be modified if you eventually change your business name later in the future. No matter how many times you change your business name, you don’t need to update your previous legal contracts and commitments as long as you don’t obtain a new Unique Entity Number (UEN).

Next Steps

As soon as you get a name that you can use, you should register your company with the appropriate authorities. At HeySara, registering a company is easier and faster than you think. So reach out to us today to know more.

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