To strictly prevent and stop illegal behaviors such as counterfeiting state-owned enterprises and central enterprises, it is strictly prohibited to “use words related to major national strategic policies to mislead the public into believing that there is a relationship with state funding, government credit, etc.”, “submit false materials or adopt other fraudulent means to declare enterprise names on their own “, “intentionally declaring an enterprise name that is similar to the name (including abbreviation, font size, etc.) of another person in the same industry that has a certain degree of influence in the first place”, etc. On 17 August 2023, the State Administration for Market Regulation（SAMR）issued Decree No. 82, amending and promulgating the “Measures for Implementing the Provisions on the Registration and Administration of Enterprise Names” (“Measures”) , which will be implemented as from 1 October 2023 onwards.
The Measures refine the implementation of the Provisions on Administration of Enterprise Name Registration issued by the State Council, support and serve the development of enterprises, optimize and facilitate the service of self-declaration of enterprise names, refine the adjudication procedures for enterprise name disputes, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises, strengthen the supervision of enterprise names during and after the incident, and urge the implementation of the main responsibility of enterprises. The main contents are as follows:
1. Optimize the service of self-declaration of enterprise name
The Measures make it clear that the registration and management of enterprise names should follow the principles of compliance with the law, standardization and unification, openness and transparency, convenience and efficiency. The Measures refine and improve the requirements for the specification of the constituent elements of enterprise names, clearly standardize the requirements for enterprise names that do not contain the names of administrative divisions, or the names of industries or business characteristics, and provide better services and guidance for the declaration of enterprise names. Strengthening informationization support services, the enterprise name declaration system is required to automatically compare the names submitted by applicants and to make prohibited instructions or risk tips based on the rules on the prohibited use of enterprise names and the rules on comparison of identical and similar names.
2. Regulating the order of business name registration and management
The Measures stipulate that the declaration and use of enterprise names should adhere to honesty and credit, respect prior legal rights, and avoid confusion. To strictly prevent and stop illegal behaviors such as pretending to be a state-owned enterprise or central enterprise, the Measures strictly prohibit “using words related to major national strategic policies to mislead the public into believing that there is a relationship with state funding, government credit, etc.”, “submitting false materials or adopting other fraudulent means of independent declaration of enterprise names”, “intentionally declaring names (including abbreviations and names) that have a certain degree of influence on others in the same industry first” and “to intentionally declare an enterprise name that is similar to the name of another person in the same industry that has had a certain degree of influence in the past (including abbreviation, font size, etc.)”. It is stipulated that if an enterprise name bears the words “China”, “Zhonghua”, “Central Government”, etc., it shall be scrutinized strictly by laws and regulations.
3. Strengthening the use of enterprise names and supervision and management
The Measures stipulate that the use of names by enterprises shall comply with laws and regulations and shall not infringe upon the prior legal rights and interests of others by imitation or confusion. The Measures also refine and improve the procedures for correcting enterprise names by registration authorities. Adhering to the principles of equal punishment and punishment combined with education, the Measures set different legal liabilities for the declaration and use of enterprise names in violation of regulations, distinguishing between subjective fault, circumstances, and consequences.
4. Improving the mechanism for administrative adjudication of name disputes
The Measures provide for the establishment of a special chapter on the adjudication of disputes over enterprise names, refine the specific rules and procedural norms for disputes over enterprise names, and improve the remedies for the legitimate rights and interests of enterprise names. When the enterprise registration authority examines the enterprise name dispute, it should consider the relevant factors by the law. Adhering to the principle of high efficiency and convenience, for enterprise name disputes with clear facts, little controversy, and simple cases, simplified adjudication procedures may be applied following the relevant provisions.
In addition, the Measures require SAMR to earnestly implement the provisions of the Measures, strengthen publicity, training, and interpretation, strictly implement the responsibility, continuously optimize the service measures, strengthen the rule of law supervision, credit supervision, intelligent supervision, and support the high-quality development of the main body of the business.