What is this service?
ACRA has launched a new free alert service to notify business owners if another business entity with a name similar to their own business has been registered with ACRA. These notifications will be sent on a monthly basis on selected business names registered with ACRA.
Why do you need the business name alert service?
The idea of this service is to support business owners who wishes to monitor specific business names which may be similar and pose a conflict with their registered trade marks, brand names, or registered business name.
With the launch of the free business name alert service, business owners will not longer need to conduct checks manually via directory searches on BizFile portal.
How do you sign up and subscribe?
Any authorised officer of a business entity or registered filing agent authorised to file on the business entity’s behalf can subscribe to the service.
It can be done through the Business Name Alert Service in BizFile+ portal and clicking as follows > File eServices > Others > Name Alert Service. This subscription is free, and valid for 3 years.
What happens if there is a similar business name?
Similar business names do not have to be identical, but have a close resemblance which may result in confusion and possibly be mistaken for each other.
If there is a similar business name dispute, you may lodge a name complaint with ACRA directly.
How to file a name complaint
The business owner should submit the application to ACRA within 12 months from the registration of the business name that is the subject of the complaint.
You only have a 12 month window to submit the name complaint, or ACRA will reject your complaint.
Mere similarity between the two business names alone is not a sufficient reason for the Registrar to allow a name complaint application. ACRA will assess all name complaint applications received based on the law, the grounds submitted and all relevant facts and circumstances. As such, best to have other supporting documents such as trademark infringements on hand to aid with your complaint.
ACRA will also take into consideration other factors such as whether the business entities are carrying out similar business activities, and whether there is evidence of public confusion and financial detriment arising from the use of the business names, among others.
Refer to ACRA’s guide on how to submit an application for name complaint.
Other options of recourse
Aside from the name complaint with ACRA – Business owners may also dispute with a business entity that has a similar registered business name through the following methods:
- Taking independent legal action to enforce their intellectual property rights
- Negotiating with the other business party in order for both parties to be able to continue their registered business name amicably
- Requesting the other business to change its business name
- Changing their own business name
- Clarification and informing customers to avoid any confusion over name recognition