14 MPs voted in favor, 12 were against and 14 abstained. The draft amendments will be sent back for review.
Under the draft proposal, "the name of a legal entity should be comprised following norms of the Lithuanian language, except for cases when dialectal words or foreign words comprised of Latin-based alphabet are used." The draft amendments also states that "the name of a legal entity can be comprised of letters of the Lithuanian or Latin alphabets, which cannot be perceived as words, as well as numerals or their combinations."
Liberal Remigijus Šimašius, one of the initiators of the amendments, says such a practice is currently in place in many European countries, including Latvia and Estonia. Moreover, international companies use non-Lithuanian letters in their names already, although theoretically the Civil Code forbids that.
"The ban has been in place for over 10 years but we only recently started enforcing it in a more stringent way," he said.
Meanwhile, critics say the Lithuanian language has to be protected.
14 members representing various political groups in the Lithuanian Seimas had registered amendments to the Civil Code, allowing the use of non-Lithuanian letters w", "q" and "x" in company names.
Non-Lithuanian letters are currently allowed only for registered brands.