Oh! That business name looks similar to mine!


In our earlier blog post, we talked about ACRA’s Business Name Alert Service and how to subscribe for this service.
 
Picture this: You subscribed for the Business Name Alert Service. You receive a name alert email. You saw a similar business name which resembles the name of your business entity. You believe that this could likely result in mistaken identity for your own business entity.
 
Question: Do you know what you can do to resolve this issue?
 
Here are some available options you can consider under such circumstance.

LODGE A NAME COMPLAINT WITH ACRA

You can opt to lodge a name complaint. However, it must be done within 12 months from the registration or incorporation of the business entity which is subject of the name complaint. Else, it will be rejected by ACRA.
 
Other than similarity in the business names, ACRA takes a stringent approach and will assess your name complaint application based on law, reasons for the application, the grounds relied on and relevant facts and circumstances including but not limited to: -

  1. Evidence of conducting similar business activities
  2. Evidence of public confusion
  3. Evidence of financial detriment caused to your business entity
  4. Evidence of trademark infringements, if applicable
  5. Evidence of injunction granted by the courts under the Trade Marks Act prohibiting the use of certain words in your business name, if applicable

Each name complaint application costs S$200.

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS YOU CAN CONSIDER

You can also consider the following options to resolve the issue of another business entity with a similar business name: -

  1. Change the name of your own business entity
  2. Request the other business entity to change its name
  3. Negotiate with the other business entity for a win-win situation where both parties can use registered business names amicably
  4. Inform your customers, suppliers and other relevant stakeholders so as to avoid any confusion with the other business entity
  5. Assess and implement branding and marketing strategies to differentiate your business entity from the other business entity
  6. Seek legal advice on protecting your business entity’s intellectual property rights

TREASURE YOUR BUSINESS NAME

A business name is important. A good business name can help people remember your brand name. A good business name can help people identify the products or services offered by your Company easily. A good business name can help differentiate your Company from competitors.
 
Hence, if you have created the right business name, established your brand name, or registered a trademark, it is worthwhile and important to take steps to protect your business name. Else, you might find your business name being subject to misuse, which could possibly result in theft of your business identity, reputational damage or even financial loss.


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