By Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo

An increase in free time during lockdown has inspired many Filipinos to start work on their businesses. According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), there were 33,559 and 17,351 business name registrations in June and July respectively, a spike from the 418 tallied in March.

Business name registration is just one requirement for setting up a legitimate business. Fortunately, this can be done online in a matter of minutes. If you’re a budding entrepreneur, follow these steps to stake a claim on that name: 

1. On, hover over “Business Name Services” and click “New Registration”.

2. Read the terms and conditions. Once understood, click “I Agree.”

3. Fill in the business owner’s information.

4. Select your territorial scope, which refers to the geographical area where you can open an office, store, branch, and manufacturing or processing plant. There are four options with varying registration fees: “Barangay”, “City/Municipality”, “Regional”, and “National”. This doesn’t mean that your business can only transact within that area; rather, it establishes where you can set a business address.

In choosing, it helps to think about the future of your business. For example, if you plan on expanding to other parts of the country, then choose the “National” option.

5. Input your proposed business name and descriptor, which indicates the nature of business.

Ensure beforehand that it’s not similar to another business of the same nature or within the same territorial scope. You can only choose one descriptor since different businesses require different permits. For example, a single business that does both recruitment and construction will be rejected.  

Note that your proposed business name can be rejected if it:

• includes terms that are illegal, offensive, or scandalous to propriety (e.g. Pop’s Jueteng Station)

• is similar to an existing registered business, company, partnership, cooperation, and cooperative; or infringing on any trademark, service mark, and trade name (e.g. Anne Dok’s Lechon, Starbax Coffee)

• is composed purely of generic or geographical words (e.g. The Drugstore, Mindanao Marketing)

• cannot be appropriated by law or regulation (e.g. Intelligence Tutorial Services, United State College)

• suggests a quality of any class of goods, merchandise, or service (e.g. Best Taho Factory, First Class Vulcanizing), since this may be considered as false advertising

• is used by government in its non-proprietary functions (e.g. NBI Private Investigation Services, DTI Trading)

• is an abbreviation of any nation or inter-governmental or international organization (e.g. UNESCO Travel Agency)

• is deceptive, misleading, or one that misrepresents the nature of the business (e.g. Gold Construction, where the nature of the business is recruitment)

 After typing your desired name, click “Check Name Availability” to validate your business name. Click “Next.”

6. Take note of your reference code before proceeding with the rest of the form, since this will be used in all your transactions.

7. Ensure that all of the information provided is correct and valid, especially the e-mail address, before confirming.

8. Pay the fees using GCash, PayMaya, debit or credit card, or DTI Teller. At this point, you can no longer cancel the application if you find an error. Note that the only fees that should be charged are the territorial scope fee and documentary stamp tax.

 9. Once payment is successful, check the email address that you provided in the form, including your Spam and Junk folders. Your downloadable Certificate of Business Name Registration should have been sent to you there.

It’s important to note that the business name is valid for five years from the date of registration. DTI will send an email notification once the expiry date is close so that you can do early renewal. However, if you fail to renew within 180 days of the expiry date, your business name will be automatically canceled in the system.