On Friday 25 May, all existing business name registers in each
state closed down and the information was transferred to the
register of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
The Business Names Registration Act 2011 (Cth) then
came into force on 28 May 2012.
From this date, ASIC has governed the registration of business
names throughout Australia and there are several key issues to be
aware of under this new system.
Features of the new system
Under the new system:
business names are registered by ASIC;
businesses can apply for a business name online and receive
a business name only needs to be registered in the one place
and it will operate Australia-wide;
the registration fees are largely reduced, at $30 for 1 year or
$70 for 3 years;
the process of incorporating a company and registering a
business name will be streamlined; and
links with the IP Australia database will allow businesses to
check if someone else is currently using a similar or identical
business name as a trade mark.
As a new requirement, to apply for a business name you must
have, or be in the process of applying for, an Australian Business
Some traps and pitfalls
Importantly, a business name will still not give its owner
protection in respect of their intellectual property and goodwill.
This remains unchanged from the position under the previous
While the national system should reduce compliance costs, it
also means that business names that are registered by different
owners between states will operate concurrently.
This may pose problems for businesses in respect of their
existing intellectual property and goodwill.
If there are similar or identical business names registered due
to the consolidation of the state registration systems, ASIC will
add a state identifier to the end of the conflicting business names
that will only appear on ASIC's records. Business name owners
will not need to display the identifier; however they will not be
able to stop another business from using a conflicting business
name if it was registered prior to 28 May.
The best way to protect intellectual property rights is still to
register a trade mark.
What do you do now?
You can contact any member of our corporate and commercial team
on 3231 2444 to discuss:
how the changes will impact your business; and
how to register a trade mark.
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Winner - Australasian Law Awards Gold Employer of Choice 2011
Finalist - ALB Australasian Law Awards 2008, 2010 and 2011 (Best
Winner - BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 and 2010 - Best Australian
Law Firm (revenue less than $50m)
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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