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Q1. Am I free to choose any name I want for my company?
   
Q2. How to determine if a company name is "the same as" another?
   
Q3.

How can I know whether the company name I intend to use is the same as a name appearing in the Index of Company Names kept by the Registrar of Companies?

 
Q4.

How can I know whether the company name I intend to use is identical to a name that has been subject to a change of name direction issued by the Registrar of Companies?

 
Q5.

How can I know whether the company name I intend to use has once been used by other companies?

 
Q6.

Can I use both English letters and Chinese characters in a company name?

 
Q7.

Can I use simplified Chinese characters in the Chinese company name of a local company?

 
Q8. Is it possible to register a company with a Chinese name only?
 
Q9. Can an English company name end with the word "Ltd"?
 
Q10. How can a company change its name after incorporation?
 
Q11. Can the name of a company be swopped with the name of another company under the same corporate group? What documents should I deliver to the Companies Registry for consideration?
 
Q12. Can I raise objection to a registered company name if I consider that it is "too like" my company name?
 
Q13. What will be the consequences if a company fails to comply with the change of name direction issued by the Registrar of Companies?
 
Q14. I have already registered the name of my limited company with the Companies Registry. Can I use the registered company name as a trademark? Will my company name be protected as a registered trademark automatically?
 
Q15. Will the Trade Marks Registry give approval to the registration of the name of my limited company as a trademark because I have registered it with the Companies Registry?
 
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Q1.

Am I free to choose any name I want for my company?

 
Answer:
No. There are some restrictions on the registration of company names. Generally speaking, a company name will not be registered if: -
a) it is the same as a name appearing in the Index of Company Names kept by the Registrar of Companies ("the Registrar");
b) it is the same as that of a body corporate incorporated or established under an Ordinance;
c) in the opinion of the Registrar, its use would constitute a criminal offence; or
d) in the opinion of the Registrar, it is offensive or otherwise contrary to the public interest.

Moreover, some company names require the approval of the Registrar before they can be registered. These include names which contain any of the words or expressions set out in the Companies (Words and Expressions in Company Names) Order (Cap. 622A) and names which would be likely to give the impression that the company is connected in any way with the Central People's Government or the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or any department or agency of either government.

In addition, a name which is identical to a name that has been subject to a change of name direction issued by the Registrar will not be registered except with the consent of the Registrar. Please refer to Q4 for details of the search on the old company names for which change of name directions have been issued.

Please refer to the Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies (pdf format) for details.

 
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Q2.

How to determine if a company name is "the same as" another?

 
Answer:

In determining whether a company name is "the same as" another, certain words and their abbreviations will be disregarded. These words include the definite article where it is the first word of a name and the words "company", "and company", "company limited", "and company limited", "limited", "unlimited", "public limited company", the characters "公司", "有限公司", "無限公司" and "公眾有限公司" where they appear at the end of the name. The type or cases of letters, spaces between letters, accent marks, and punctuation marks, will be disregarded.


The following expressions "and" and "&", "Hongkong", "Hong Kong", and "HK", "Far East" and "FE" are respectively to be taken as the same.

In addition, a Chinese character is to be regarded as the same as another Chinese character if the Registrar is satisfied, having regard to the usage of the 2 characters in Hong Kong, that the 2 characters can reasonably be used interchangeably.


Please refer to the Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies (pdf format) for details.

 
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Q3.

How can I know whether the company name I intend to use is the same as a name appearing in the Index of Company Names kept by the Registrar of Companies?

 
Answer:

You may conduct a company name search free of charge through the Companies Registry's Cyber Search Centre or Company Search Mobile Service or at its Public Search Centre on the 13th floor of the Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.


Please use the "Exact Name Search" mode and input the full and exact company name that you intend to register, including all spaces, punctuation marks, and ending terms like "Company", "Company Limited", "Limited", "有限公司", "公司" etc. The Exact Name Search result will display the current names of live companies which match exactly with the input characters. Only English or traditional Chinese characters should be used as the search language. Inputting other languages or simplified Chinese characters may result in incorrect search result as the system will display a "no matching record found" message.

 
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Q4.

How can I know whether the company name I intend to use is identical to a name that has been subject to a change of name direction issued by the Registrar of Companies?

 
Answer:

You can conduct a search (free of charge) on the list containing these old company names by clicking the 'hyperlink' provided on the screen displaying the company name search result.

 
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Q5.

How can I know whether the company name I intend to use has once been used by other companies?

 
Answer:

You may conduct a company name search free of charge through the Companies Registry's Cyber Search Centre or Company Search Mobile Service or at its Public Search Centre on the 13th floor of the Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.


Please use the "Left Partial Search" mode and input any number of the initial characters of the intended company name. Please do not enter ending terms such as "Company", "Company Limited", "Limited", "有限公司", "公司" etc. The search result will display all the current and old names of companies which contain the same initial characters regardless of the companies' active status and company type. Only English or traditional Chinese characters should be used as the search language. Inputting other languages or simplified Chinese characters may result in incorrect search result as the system will display a “no matching record found” message.

 
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Q6.

Can I use both English letters and Chinese characters in a company name?

 
Answer:

No. A company name with a combination of English words/letters and Chinese characters will NOT be registered.

 
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Q7.

Can I use simplified Chinese characters in the Chinese company name of a local company?

 
Answer:

No. The Chinese company name of a local company must be in traditional Chinese characters.

 
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Q8.

Is it possible to register a company with a Chinese name only?

 
Answer:

Yes, a company may be registered with a Chinese name only. A company may also be registered with an English name only or both an English name and a Chinese name.

 
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Q9.

Can an English company name end with the word "Ltd"?

 
Answer:

No. Although the word "Ltd" is considered to be the same as "Limited", section 102 of the Companies Ordinance requires that the last word of an English company name of a limited company must be "Limited" .

 
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Q10. How can a company change its name after incorporation?
 
Answer:

A company may pass a Special Resolution to change its name after incorporation. A "Notice of Change of Company Name" (Form NNC2) should be delivered within 15 days after the passing of the Special Resolution together with the required fee either electronically through the "e-Registry" portal (www.eregistry.gov.hk) or in hard copy form to the Shroff on the 14th floor of the Queensway Government Offices. The change of name will be effective from the date on which the Certificate of Change of Name is issued. Please note that the Special Resolution on change of name and the Articles of Association as altered in relation to change of company name need not be delivered to the Registry.


Please also refer to the information pamphlet on Change of Name of a Local Limited Company (pdf format) for details.

 
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Q11. Can the name of a company be swopped with the name of another company under the same corporate group? What documents should I deliver to the Companies Registry for consideration?
 
Answer:
Yes. Please deliver the following documents to the Companies Registry for consideration:
i) a letter explaining in detail why the names swop is required;
ii) a “Notice of Change of Company Name” (Form NNC2) of each of the two companies swopping names together with the fee of HK$295 for each form; and
iii) mutual consent letters from the two companies releasing the names for re-use.

If the names swop is acceptable, a Certificate of Change of Name will be issued to the two companies swopping names on the same date.
 
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Q12. Can I raise objection to a registered company name if I consider that it is "too like" my company name?
 
Answer:
Yes. If you consider that a company name registered after the incorporation of your company is "too like" the name of your company, you may lodge an objection with the Registrar of Companies ("the Registrar") giving full reasons and providing any available evidence of alleged confusion. Under section 108(3) of the Companies Ordinance, the Registrar may direct a company to change its name within 12 months after the date of registration by the name ("the statutory period") if, in the Registrar's opinion, the name is "too like" a name previously registered. Hence, in order to enable the Registrar to make enquiries and serve notices that may be required before the expiry of the statutory period, objection should be made to the Registrar in good time, preferably at least one month before the expiry of the statutory period.
 
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Q13. What will be the consequences if a company fails to comply with the change of name direction issued by the Registrar of Companies?
 
Answer:

Non-compliance with the change of name direction issued by the Registrar of Companies may result in the prosecution of the company and/or its officers. The maximum penalty for failure to comply is a fine of $100,000, as well as a daily default fine of $2,000 for continuing default. The Registrar may also change the company name with the company registration number.


Please refer to the Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies (pdf format) for details.

 
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Q14.
I have already registered the name of my limited company with the Companies Registry. Can I use the registered company name as a trademark? Will my company name be protected as a registered trademark automatically?
 
Answer:
Company registration and trademark registration in Hong Kong serve different purposes. They are regulated by different laws and registration systems administered by different government departments. The Companies Registry is responsible for the registration of local limited companies and companies incorporated outside Hong Kong which have established a place of business in Hong Kong, while the Trade Marks Registry administered by the Intellectual Property Department ( www.ipd.gov.hk/eng/trademarks.htm ) is responsible for the registration of trademarks. Having the name of a limited company registered with the Companies Registry does not automatically confer on the company the right to use its name as a trademark in promoting or dealing in goods and services. You have to file an application with the Trade Marks Registry for trademark registration in order to obtain the protection under the Trade Marks Ordinance (Cap. 559).
 
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Q15. Will the Trade Marks Registry give approval to the registration of the name of my limited company as a trademark because I have registered it with the Companies Registry?
 
Answer:
Company registration and trademark registration in Hong Kong serve different purposes. They are regulated by different laws and registration systems administered by different government departments. The Companies Registry is responsible for the registration of local limited companies and companies incorporated outside Hong Kong which have established a place of business in Hong Kong, while the Trade Marks Registry administered by the Intellectual Property Department is responsible for the registration of trademarks. The fact that the name of your company has been registered with the Companies Registry does not mean that it is registrable as a trademark. The Registrar of Trade Marks examines each application to ensure that the requirements under the Trade Marks Ordinance (Cap. 559) and Trade Marks Rules (Cap. 559A) are satisfied. For details, please visit the website of the Intellectual Property Department: www.ipd.gov.hk/eng/trademarks.htm
 
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