About the Business Name Alert service

Q: What is the Business Name Alert service?
A: The Business Name Alert service allows a subscriber to monitor up to 10 business names, and receive email notification when an entity with a similar name is registered with ACRA. 

Q: Why would businesses want to subscribe to the alert service?
A:The business name alert service can be useful for businesses that wish to monitor specific business names which may be similar to their registered trade marks, brand names, registered business names or the industries in which they are carrying on business, or for other commercial reasons. 

Q: When will a subscriber receive the notification?
A:You will receive an email notification at the end of the month when an entity with a business name that matches the names that you have submitted for tracking, has been registered or incorporated. The email will provide a list of names of ‘live’ business entities registered/incorporated with ACRA over the past 12 months that match the business names entered by the subscriber.

Q: Who can sign up for this business name alert service? Is there any fee involved?
A: Any authorised officer of a business entity or registered filing agent authorised to file on behalf of the business entity can sign up for this alert service. The service is provided free of charge and each subscription is valid for three years. You can check out the step-by-step subscription process in the Business Name Alert service eGuide in BizFile+ portal to apply for the service.

Q: How do I subscribe to this service and how long does each subscription last? Can I terminate the service at any time, and how to do so?
A: You may sign up via the Business Name Alert service in BizFile+ portal > File eServices > Others > Name Alert service. Each subscription is valid for 3 years and can be unsubscribed anytime. You may renew the subscription within 60 days from the expiry date. An email reminder will be sent to the email account that you have provided, 60 days from the expiry date. If no renewal is done prior to expiry, a new subscription has to be made.

Q: What happens if my business entity is no longer ‘live’ on ACRA’s Register?
A: This name alert subscription service will cease automatically once your business entity is no longer ‘live’ on our records (e.g. dissolved, struck-off).

Q: Can I request for more than one email account to receive the name alert emails?
A: Only one email account can be used to receive the name alert emails. You can choose to use the same email account that is already registered with ACRA. The email account entered for this name alert service will only be used to receive the name alert emails, and will not change or update any existing email address that you have registered with ACRA. 

Q:. How do I change the email account provided for the service?
A: You may change the email address via the Business Name Alert service in BizFile+ portal.

Q: How many business names can I select in my list? How do I edit my list of selected business names?
A: You may enter up to 10 business names and edit them anytime via the Business Name Alert service in BizFile+ portal. For example, if you have entered ‘ABC Motor Services’ as one of the names to monitor under this service, you will be notified if anyone registers the exact business name of ‘ABC Motor Services’. You may exclude suffixes such as ‘Private’ and ‘Limited’ when entering the names to be notified.

Q:. The list is only emailed to me at end of each month. Why does ACRA not prompt me immediately when there is an exact match of business names so that I can take action quickly?  
A: As this is a new service, we are monitoring the take up rate, and will review if there is sufficient demand for real-time alert service. 

Similar Names

Q: What is the difference between identical and similar business names? 
A: Identical business names refer to names that are the same as each other (e.g. ABC Company Pte Ltd vs ABC Corporation Pte Ltd – ‘Company’ and ‘Corporation’ are disregarded where they appear at the end of a business name). Similar business names refer to names that are not identical but nearly resemble each other as to be likely to be mistaken for each other.

In deciding whether the business names so nearly resemble each other, ACRA will, in additional to the registered names, also consider factors such as whether the business entities are carrying out similar business activities, and there is evidence of public confusion and financial detriment arising from the use of the business names, among others. You can find out more about how ACRA treats identical and similar business names, the name complaint policy and application process in our Practice Direction on Selection of Company & Business Names  and Name Complaint Policy Statement.  

Q: Why does ACRA not reject any name similar to my business entity name?
A: The law requires ACRA to refuse identical business names from being registered (e.g. ABC Pte Ltd and ABC Corporation Pte Ltd) but there is no legal requirement for ACRA to refuse a proposed business name that is similar to another business name (e.g. XYZ Hotel Developments and XYZ Hospitality) from registration. You can find out more about how ACRA treats identical and similar business names, the name complaint policy and name application process in our Practice Direction on Selection of Company & Business Names and Name Complaint Policy Statement.

Q: Why does ACRA not protect the intellectual property rights subsiding in my registered business name?
A: The registration of a business name is a prerequisite for any person who wishes to carry out their business in Singapore. On the other hand, the registration of a trade mark confers legal protection on the trade mark. A trade mark registration grants the proprietor the exclusive right to use the trade mark, or to authorise others to use the trade mark in relation to the goods and/or services it is applied for, in Singapore. In comparison, the mere registering of a business name does not offer that exclusive right. As such, a trade mark registration can bar other traders from using the registered trade mark in the course of trade without the consent of the proprietor of the registered trade mark, but a business name registered with ACRA could not.

To register your business name as a trade mark, please refer to : https://www.ipos.gov.sg/understanding-innovation-ip/trade-mark

To protect your intellectual rights relating to your registered business name, you may consider options such as:

• relying on the common law (e.g. the tort of passing off)
• seeking recourse under other legislation (e.g. Trade Marks Act)
• seeking independent legal advice on your rights
• obtaining an injunction under the Trade Marks Act against the use of your registered business name (after which, for instance you may submit a name complaint for ACRA to direct another person who has used this name to change it, on the ground provided under Section 27(2)(c) of the Companies Act)  

Name Complaint

Q: Where can I find more information on name complaint application to ACRA?
A: Before signing up for the service or deciding whether to submit a name complaint to ACRA, you may want to learn more how ACRA treats identical and similar business names, the name complaint policy and name application process in our Practice Direction on Selection of Company & Business Names  and Name Complaint Policy.

Q: What can I do when I think that a business name similar to mine has been registered?
A: You may consider taking the following courses of action:

• Seek independent legal advice regarding the protection of your intellectual property rights
• Negotiate with the other party for both parties to be able to continue using their registered business names amicably 
• Request the other party to change its registered business name voluntarily 
• Change your registered business name voluntarily 
• Assess your business entity’s branding and marketing strategies to commercially differentiate your registered business name from those of other business entities 
• Inform your own customers to avoid any confusion over the registered business names  
• Submit a name complaint to ACRA with a non-refundable application fee of $200. If your name complaint is on the basis that the other party’s registered business so nearly resembles yours as to be likely to be mistaken for yours. You should take note that the legal consideration is strict and mere similarity between two registered business names is not sufficient for ACRA to allow a name complaint application. You may want to find out more how ACRA treats identical and similar business names, the name complaint policy and name application process in our Practice Direction on Selection of Company & Business Name and Name Complaint Policy.
 
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