New rules on company names in Vietnam

Nearly ten years ago, the Enterprise Law 2005 contemplates a general prohibition that names of a company in Vietnam must not contain words or symbols which contravene national historical traditions, culture, ethics and fine customs. Now, from November 2014, names of new companies incorporated in Vietnam must comply with a much more detailed naming rules under Circular 10/2014 of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism. Under Circular 10/2014,

  • Names of a company in Vietnam must not be identical with names of historically famous persons. Circular 10/2014 fails to clarify whether a historically famous person is limited to Vietnamese person or foreign person or both. There is also no reference to a public database of historically famous persons.
  • If (1) the owner of a company names his/her company after the owner’s name and (2) a part of the owner’s name is identical with a part of the name of a historically famous persons then the owner must use his/her full name for his/her own company. This requirement may be difficult for a Vietnamese owner since many Vietnamese people including historically famous persons having the same last name (e.g Nguyen or Tran).
  • A company in Vietnam must not be named after (1) earlier country names of Vietnam during the time Vietnam was under foreign occupation, (2) names of individuals who are against the good cause or historical development. Again it is not clear what constitute a good cause and historical development.
  • Name of a company in Vietnam must not contain words or symbols which directly or indirectly threaten, insult, or disrespect other people or organisations.

The requirements on naming companies in Vietnam under Circular 10/2014 are quite vague and general. If the licensing authority requires investors wanting to incorporate a new company in Vietnam to submit evidence that the proposed new company’s name complies with Circular 10/2014, then the investors may have a hard time to prove so.