Contributions for this article were also received from
The Australian Government has announced details of a new
scheme, to be administered by the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission (ASIC) and proposed to
commence in April 2011, which will enable the national registration
of Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) and business
All state and territory business names will be transferred into
the new system. This will simplify complying with the obligations
to register business names.
Registration of a business name is necessary to comply with
statutory obligations but does not give the business name owner any
property rights in the name.
Traders seeking a national monopoly in a name or brand which
they use in relation to the goods or services they provide should
obtain trade mark registration.
It is also the responsibility of a business to make sure its
business name does not infringe on the registered rights of trade
The new system
In response to a regulatory reform identified by the Council of
Australian Governments, the Australian Government will be investing
A$125.2 million during the next 4 years into a national ABN and
business name registration system, to be administered by the
Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Currently, where a business trades in more than one state or
territory, it must register a business name under the laws of each
Under the new system, businesses can register once and pay a
one-off fee to have its business name registered nationally.
Business names registered under the current system will be
automatically transferred into the new system.
Obtaining a monopoly in a name or brand
Businesses should be aware that registration of a business name
does not give it any property rights in the business name. The
registration of a business name does not give the owner any
'trade mark rights' – the best way to shore up
'brand rights' is trade mark registration.
To ensure that they have a national monopoly in the name or
brand it uses in relation to the goods and/or services it provides,
businesses should not rely only on this registration but also
obtain trade mark registration of that name or brand.
This is particularly important given the ease with which the new
system will allow businesses to register and use business names
nationally. The statutory rights granted by trade mark registration
can be enforced against a competing business which uses a name or
brand that is substantially identical or deceptively similar to the
registered trade mark in relation to goods or services similar to
those covered by the trade mark registration.
Conversely, businesses should ensure that their business name
does not infringe the rights of trade mark owners both here in
Australia and, if the business exports and/or has an online
We can advise you on
the impact of this new system on your business; and
your overall branding strategy, in particular how to strengthen
and develop your trade mark rights by registration and/or how to
avoid potential claims of trade mark infringement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
IP is the legal property in the innovation in your business and it is that which drives your revenue and profit growth.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).