On 28 May 2012, the new business names registration system will
commence. The new system integrates the business names systems of
each state and territory into a national registration network.
Business names are currently regulated individually by state and
Under the new system:
business names will be registered through ASIC;
you can apply online and receive immediate confirmation of
links to trade mark and domain name searches will be integrated
integration with ASIC will streamline the company registration
and business name process;
there will be lower registration fees ($30 for a one year
registration period, $70 for a three year period);
new applicants are required to have or be in the process of
applying for (and not have been refused) an ABN; and
names will not be available if they are identical or nearly
identical to a company or business name that is already registered,
are likely to be offensive, contain prohibited or restricted words
or are likely to mislead or deceive consumers and traders.
Existing business names
Existing state and territory business names will be transferred
into the national system. The due date of renewals for existing
business names will not change.
Existing identical business names that were registered by
different owners will co-exist on the register. These business
names will be distinguished by an identifier to help people
differentiate between different businesses. This identifier will
only appear on the register; it will not be included in the
business name itself.
Impact trade marks
Registering a business name or company name does not give the
owner of the name any IP rights in that name. This can only be
achieved by registering a trade mark.
The ability to register business names that only differ by
geographical location reinforces the importance of protecting your
brand and reputation by registering your business name as a trade
mark. This should be done before the new system comes into force to
protect your legal rights if a similar or identical business name
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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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