Business Name – Questions & Answers

When do I need a business name?

Do I have to apply for a business name?

You are required to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), unless you plan to conduct your business under your, or your partner’s, first name and surname, or initials and surname.

You also don’t need to register a business name if you plan to trade under your registered company name.

What is different about an ABN and Business Name?

Yes. Your business name registration only gives you your business name and a business number; it does not automatically provide you with an ABN.

You will need to register for an ABN separately through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). You will need this in order to apply for a business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Registering your Business Name

You can register your business name nationally through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Before you register, you should check that no one else has legal rights to your proposed name:

  • Check if your proposed business name already exists by searching ASIC Connect.
  • Check if your proposed business name is already registered as a trade mark by searching IP Australia’s TM Check. If there are no current trade marks that use your proposed name, you may wish to apply for your own trade mark to ensure your business name is protected across Australia. Visit the IP Australia website for details.

How can I check if my Business Name is available?

Check if your proposed business name already exists by searching ASIC Connect.

You should also check if your proposed business name is already registered as a trade mark by searching IP Australia’s TM Check.

How do I protect my Business Name Australia-wide?

Registering your business name gives no legal rights over that name. Only a trade mark can provide that sort of protection to prevent other businesses from using it.

Under the new national business names registration system, it’s possible for businesses with identical names to operate across Australia. However, if you have registered a company name or a trade mark for your business name, then your name cannot be used by anyone else in Australia.

To protect your business name from being used by someone else, you can register it as a trade mark.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will issue a record of registration following registration and each renewal. You don’t need to display the record of registration, although you may wish to. For further information go to www.asic.gov.au or call their client contact centre on 1300 300 630.

You can cancel your business name anytime through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.

Register a company name        

    

Company names are registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). Before you register you may wish to speak to a solicitor or accountant to discuss your needs.

Refer to ASIC’s Identical Names Check to see if your proposed company name already exists.

You should also check if your proposed company name is already registered as a trade mark by searching IP Australia’s Trade Marks Database.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will give you an ACN when you register your company. You will need to do this before you apply for an ABN.

Further information about ACNs is available on the ASIC website.

To register for an ABN online, visit the Australian Business Register website.