As foreshadowed in our
update of 9 May 2011 , the way in which business names are
registered and maintained is about to change.
Australian Securities & Investment Commission
(ASIC) has announced that from 28 May this year it
will (subject to the passage of legislation through the state
parliaments) become the central point for the registration and
searching of business names throughout Australia.
What does this mean for your business?
If you already have a registered business name under a State or
Territory regime, this name will be automatically rolled into the
new national system upon its commencement (You can review your
details online with ASIC), you don't have to do anything during
If you have the same business name registered in several States
or Territories, those registrations will be consolidated into one
registration on the national register.
If identical business names are currently registered to
different registrants in different jurisdictions ASIC may, in
migrating the business names to the national register, include a
distinguishing mark or expression with each registration to ensure
that they can be differentiated. For example, where a business name
(say, Tony's Smash Repairs) has been registered in Victoria and
South Australia to different business operators, ASIC may include a
geographic identifier with each registration so that the register
would include Tony's Smash Repairs (Melbourne) and Tony's
Smash Repairs (Adelaide). The inclusion of the distinguishing mark
or expression is not a variation of the business names itself, and
therefore the businesses will not need to change their business
name on their branding or stationary.
If your registration is due for renewal before the start of the
new provisions, it must be renewed through your relevant State or
Territory body. If renewal is due after the start of the new
provisions, renewal should be made through the ASIC administered
national register by paying the applicable renewal fee.
Following the start of the new service on 28 May 2012, ASIC will
issue renewal reminders to all existing businesses with registered
For those who do not have a registered business name, on
commencement of the new system businesses will need to register for
an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a national
business name through the one site with Australian Business
Registry. Registration can also be made by post or in person. From
28 May 2012, registration of a new business name, or renewal of an
existing name, will cost $30 for a one year period or $70 for three
years whilst registration of an ABN will continue to be free.
It is important to note that, as with the current business name
registration system, the national register will not provide the
registrant with a proprietary interest in a name. Registrants would
therefore need to seek trade mark registration if they wish to
exert or obtain ownership rights over the name, as is currently the
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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