How to Name my Business?

trademarkWhen it comes to starting a business, there is often some confusion about the process of business name registration. Does a trade name afford any legal branding protection? Can your trade name be the same as your trademark?

Simply put, a trade name is the official name under which a company does business. A trade name does not afford any brand name protection or provide you with unlimited rights for the use of that name. However, registering a trade name is an important step for some but not all businesses.

An important reason to distinguish between trade names and trademarks is that if a business starts to use its trade name to identify products and services, it could be perceived that the trade name is now functioning as a trademark, which could potentially infringe on existing trademarks.

Naming your business is an important branding exercise. If you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name, then you will need to register it with the appropriate authority.

When you register your business, you may register a business name. You should take one of the following three choices:

– register a Chinese name only (For Chinese name, you may include English alphabets, but not English words)
– register an English name only
– or register both a Chinese name and an English name.

You may not use the following names as your business name:

– A name which suggests that the business is incorporated with limited liability when it is not.
– Where the business is incorporated with limited liability, a name which suggests that the business is incorporated under a different name.
– A name which suggests a connection with the Government or any public body when no such connection exists or has existed.

Sometimes, for the same business, you may wish to register more than one business name. This is permissible. However, each registered additional business name will be treated as a branch of the business. The additional business name must also follow the rules mentioned above.

If you carry on more than one business, you should register each business separately. Each business may have its own business name.

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