New ASIC Business Names Register
ASIC will be launching its new business names register on 28 May 2012. The register will
apply nationally, so it will no longer be necessary to register your business name in each state
or territory that your business operates in.
I want to register my business name on the
Before you can register your business name you will need to obtain an Australian Business
Number (ABN). You can also search the register to find out whether the business name you
want to use has already been registered or whether there is a trademark registered against it.
Once you have an ABN and have determined that no other business is using your planned
business name, you can register your business name online through the ASIC website. The
fee to register your business name is $30 for 1 year, or $70 for 3 years. This will result in
significant cost savings. Currently, the cost of registering a business name in every state and
territory for 3 years (the usual registration period) exceeds $1,000.
To complete the online application you will need the following information:
Your proposed business name;
Your preferred registration period (1 year or 3 years);
Details of the business name holder (for example a company, sole trader, partnership or
The street address in Australia for service of documents and principal place of business in
I have already registered my business name in a
state or territory register
Businesses who have already registered their business name in a state or territory will
automatically be transferred to the new national register. Your registration will expire at the
same time it was due to expire under the state or territory register.
I have registered my business name in multiple
states or territories
The registered business names will be transferred from each state and/or territory to the
national register. This will result in there being multiple entries of your business name on
the national register.
Once your business names have been transferred, you have the option of keeping one
business name on the register and cancelling the registration of the other identical business
names. ASIC will not charge you anything for cancelling the other business names.
If you decide to consolidate your business names, ASIC will request that you nominate one
principal place of business or address for service of documents.
In recognition of the important role that e-commerce plays, the Business Names Registration
Regulations 2011 state that where a business has an obligation to operate only under a
registered business name, or display its registered business name on written communications
or signage, the domain name and non-domain name forms are interchangeable.
It is common for franchisors to require their franchisees to pre-complete and pre-sign a form
to transfer any franchise business names back to the franchisor upon termination of the
franchise agreement. After 28 May 2012, these forms will become ineffective. It is
therefore important that franchisors have their franchisees sign replacement forms under the
new national business name system.
What do I need to do before end of May 2012?
We recommend that before the change-over, you register any unregistered business name
that you are currently using, or intend to start using within the next 2 months. This avoids
the risk of your national business name application being blocked later on by a similar or
identical name that already exists in another state. Currently such interstate names do not
affect registrability: from 28 May they will.
Under the present state-based system, it is possible for different people to register the same
business name in different states. Whilst such identical names will also be migrated to the
new national system upon commencement, it will in future no longer be possible to register
a business name that is identical or nearly identical to another business name even though
that other business name is not being used in your state. It is therefore important that if you
are currently operating under an unregistered business name, that you register that business
name now, before commencement of the new system.
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Of course, business names should only be registered where there is an obligation to do so –
where a person (including a company) is trading under a name other than their legal name. A
business name is not a means of protecting a name of a product or service; for such protection,
a trade mark should be registered instead.
Importantly, Consumer Affairs Victoria will cease accepting online, faxed or posted business
name applications after Tuesday 22 May. Over the counter applications can be lodged until
5.00 pm on Friday 25 May.
ASIC will accept applications from Monday 28 May 2012.
Andrew Scott Rebecca Lambert-Smith
Principal Senior Lawyer
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We have a range of practitioners who are able to Cecelia Irvine-So Andrew Shaw
assist with any minor queries or major issues you Principal Lawyer
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may have. If you require further information, please Tel: 9843 2127
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contact a member of our team.
Steven Sapountsis Nicole Wilson
Special Counsel Lawyer
Moores Legal is a law firm servicing companies and businesses, Not
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for Profit organisations and individuals across Melbourne in the Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
areas of Commercial Law, Workplace Relations, Property &
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DISCLAIMER: This Business Alert is of a general nature only. Specific legal advice should be sought rather than relying on this Alert.