At present, each State and Territory conducts its own business
names registration regime, meaning businesses are required to
register their business name in each State and Territory in which
they trade. This will soon change however, as a result of the
introduction of the National Business Names Registration Scheme
Under the Scheme, a National Business Name Register will be
established, allowing businesses to register their business name on
a single national register. The effect of registering a business
name on the national register is that the registered business name
will have effect and can be used in every State and Territory.
Businesses will have the option of registering a business name for
a term of one year or three years.
Migration of existing business names
All currently registered business names in each State and
Territory will be automatically migrated to the new national
register. Details such as the business name's expiry date and
owner will also be transferred from the State or Territory
There are currently business names that are registered in one
State or Territory with an identical business name registered in
another State or Territory. The Scheme addresses this issue by
proposing to transfer all identical business names currently
registered to the new register and then issuing a location
identifier next to those business names on the register. Owners of
those business names can continue to trade under the original
business name and will not be required to add the geographical
identifiers in the business name when trading. It will be
interesting to see how this will work from a practical point of
The national register will be operated by the Australian
Securities & Investments Commission ("ASIC"). The
Scheme imposes certain requirements that businesses must comply
with before they can register a business name. Some of these
requirements include the following:
Applicants for new business names after the introduction of the
national register must have an Australian Business Number
("ABN") in order to obtain registration;
Applicants may only apply for a business name that is not
already registered. In determining whether to approve an
application for a business name, ASIC may consider factors such as
the business name is identical in writing to an existing
business name; or
the business name sounds similar, and whether certain words
contained in the business name have the same meaning as words used
in an existing business name.
When will these changes take effect?
The national Business Names Register is proposed to commence in
the middle of 2012 subject to related State and Territory
legislation being passed. For further information, or advice on
registering a new business name, please contact one of Coleman
Greig's experienced commercial lawyers on ph 02 9635 6422.
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.
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