Registering A New Business Name

As in any business, the name of an i-café must be registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) before it commence operation. Aside from doing it before the actual operation, Business Name (BN) registration should be done ahead of securing the Business Permit from the local government unit where it will be located and registering the business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for taxation purposes. By the way, BN refers to any name that is different from the true name of an individual, which is used or signed in connection with his/her business. A person who is at least eighteen (18) years old, doing business or proposing to do business in the Philippines under a BN and who is not disqualified by any existing law or regulation to engage in business is qualified to apply for a BN registration.

I often see posts in a forum frequented by i-café owners asking for help in naming his/her new computer shop. More often than not, the old ones in the forum would jokingly suggest names that would not be acceptable to the ones asking help and DTI itself. It would be best that a prospective i-café owner coins his business name using the following guidelines for BNs that are NOT registrable with the agency:

  • Those which are or whose natures of business are illegal, offensive, scandalous, or contrary to propriety (e.g Popoy’s Jueteng Betting Place, Boobs Massage and Spa)
  • Names that are the same, nearly the same as or confusingly the same with an existing registered business, company, partnership, corporation, cooperative name; nor it infringes on any trademark, service mark or tradename (e.g Anne Dok’s Lechon, Jolibee, Starbax Café)
  • Names composed purely of generic or geographic words (e.g The Laundry Shop, Bacolod)
  • Names which by law or regulation cannot be appropriated (e.g OTOP, Intelligence, State College, CALABARZON)
  • Names used to designate or distinguish, or suggestive of quality of any class of goods, articles, merchandise or service (e.g Best Taho Factory, A-1 Auto Repair Shop)
  • Names or abbreviation of a name used by the government in its governmental functions (e.g NBI Private Investigation Services, DTI Trading)
  • Names or abbreviation of a name of any nation, intergovernmental or international organization (e.g Philippine Manpower Pooling Agency, UNESCO Marketing)
  • Names that are deceptive, misleading or which misrepresent the nature of the business (e.g “ABC Construction Services” where nature of business is recruitment, a business name carrying another person’s name)

To make registration faster and easier, DTI has recently come out with the new web-based Enhanced Business Name Registration System (E-BNRS). The new system implements DTI’s Department Administrative Order (DAO) 10-08 series of 2010 or the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Business Name Law. Among the salient features of  DAO 10-08 s2010, which takes effect October 6, 2010, are the following:

  • Reduced required information in the application form – only seven required fields plus the undertaking
  • Single Registration per BN, regardless of the number of branches of your business
  • No need to upload or submit Email Notification of Approval (ENA) or Transaction Reference Number (TRN) page
  • Relaxed rules on the prohibition of identical and confusingly similar BNs
  • Territorial coverage of business name (whether within a barangay, city/municipality, region or national in scope) specified
  • Three modes of registering a BN retained
  • Registration at any DTI Field Office
  • No need to personally file your application

With the new system in place, we hope that it would now be easier to register new business names and renew the old ones. A new business owner has an option to choose one among the three (3) modes of registering his business; namely, purely over the counter, online end-to-end and hybrid – combination of over the counter and online application. For details on Registering A New Business Name, please refer to FAQs at

Good luck to those who will use the online E-BRNS. Our government websites are notorious for not delivering online services such as this one. As I write this blog, the supposedly secured online registration site I discussed above does not even have an authentic SSL certificate.

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