On 28 May 2012, subject to the passage of legislation through
the state and territory parliaments, the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission (ASIC) is set to take over responsibility
for the registration, renewal and administration for all Australian
business names under the Business Names Registration Act
ASIC will maintain an online national register of business names
(the Business Names Register), which will replace the current
system that requires businesses to register their business names
separately in each state or territory in which they wish to
In the same way that persons wishing to use a trade mark can
search the Australian Trade Marks Register online to determine
whether the particular trade mark is potentially available for
registration, the Business Names Register will allow persons
wishing to commence a business to determine if a business name is
available as well as to attend to registration, renewal and common
The appointment of ASIC marks a significant and long overdue
federal consolidation in administration which was previously
administered by individual Australian states and territories.
ASIC has helpfully posted a
FAQ page and issued a
regulatory guide that addresses and answers many of the
questions that are sure to be at forefront of mind for owners of
existing business name registrations and people wishing to run a
business in Australia using a business name.
According to ASIC:
businesses that already have existing and separate business
name registrations in different states and territories will have
these existing registrations grandfathered into the Business Names
Register with their granted term of registration. If a business has
multiple identical business names registered, it may choose to keep
one business name record (for instance, the business name with the
latest registration expiry date) and cancel the registration of its
other business names
if the same business name has been registered by different
businesses in different states and territories ASIC will provide
additional information on the Business Names Register that will not
form part of the business name but will assist the public in
differentiating between the otherwise identical business names
if a business name registration is due to expire before the
commencement of the Business Names Register the owner should
receive a renewal notice from the state agency responsible for
business name registration in the relevant state or territory
before the new national service commences. If the business wishes
to continue carrying on a business under the business name after
the expiry date it will need to renew the business name
registration and pay the appropriate fee to the state or territory
under that state or territory business name system.
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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