Restricted words and expressions in business names

Certain words and expressions are restricted from use in business names, for example, because they may mislead consumers.

ASIC cannot register a business name that includes a restricted word or expression unless the applicant has first obtained consent from the relevant portfolio Minister, or the Minister’s Delegate, to be allowed to use it in a business name.

What words and expressions are restricted?

The words and expressions that are restricted in business names are set out in Schedule 2 of the Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2015 (the Names Determination).

This restriction also applies to:

  • Words or expressions that have the same or a similar meaning,
  • Abbreviations of restricted words or expressions, and
  • A restricted word that is embedded in a name.

Where a business name includes a restricted word as part of a group of characters, it may also require consent. For example, the name 'Southbank Cafe' contains ‘Bank’, which is a restricted word.

There are three categories of restricted words and expressions, each with a different application process. Refer to the relevant parts below for details on how to apply for consent.

Part 1 restricted words and expressions

The words and expressions in the following table are restricted under Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Names Determination.

Certain senior officers of ASIC have been authorised by the Minister to approve consent to use restricted words and expressions in a business name.

The Guidelines for Ministerial consent to business names under the Business Names Registration Act 2011 (the Guidelines) set out the procedures to be followed and the criteria to be applied in considering applications for consent.

If you wish to apply for consent to use a restricted word or expression in a business name, you should first check that you satisfy the criteria set out in the Guidelines.  You can view the full Guidelines through the link above, or use the links in the table to view the criteria relevant to a particular word or expression.

How to apply

When you are ready to apply for consent, email your letter of application together with any supporting documents that demonstrate how the relevant criteria have been satisfied to ASIC at bn.reviews@asic.gov.au.

We expect your application to include:

  • your name and contact details;
  • the name and ABN of the proposed holder of the business name;
  • the business name you propose to register;
  • the criteria that applies to your application, e.g. state if your application is made under criterion (d) of the guidelines to use the restricted word Trust in a business name;
  • an explanation detailing how the relevant criteria is or will be satisfied; and
  • supporting documents where applicable, e.g. a copy of the trust deed if you apply on the basis that you are the trustee of a trust.

Item

Word or expression

101

Aboriginal Corporation

102

Aboriginal Council

103

Advance Australia

104

Ambulance

105

Australian Made

106

Chamber of Commerce

107

Chamber of Industry

108

Chamber of Manufacturers

109

Charitable

110

Charity

111

Chartered

112

Consumer

113

Co-operative

114

Executor

115

Fiduciary

116

Fire Brigade

117

Friendly Society (otherwise than in relation to the conduct of a financial business)

118

Futures exchange

119

GST

120

G.S.T.

121

Guarantee

122

ICPO (International Criminal Police Organisation)

123

Incorporated

124

Interpol

125

Lest We Forget

126

Made in Australia

127

Order of the Eastern Star

128

Police

129

Policing

130

Proprietor

131

R.S.L.

132

RSL

133

Securities Exchange

134

Securities Market

135

Starr-Bowkett

136

Stock Exchange

137

Torres Strait Islander Corporation

138

Trading As

139

Trust

140

Trustee

141

Proprietary

142

Limited

143

No Liability

Part 2 restricted words and expressions

The following table lists the words and expressions that are restricted under Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the Names Determination.

If you wish to apply for consent to use a Part 2 restricted word or expression, apply in writing to the relevant Minister, as set out in the table below.

Once you receive written consent from the relevant Minister, email a copy of the consent to BN.Reviews@asic.gov.au.

Item

Word or expression

Minister

201

Anzac

Requires the consent of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs.

Visit the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.

202

Geneva Cross, Red Crescent, Red Cross, Red Crystal, Red Lion and Sun

Requires the consent of the Minister for Defence.

Visit the Department of Defence website.

203

United Nations

Requires the consent of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

204

University

Requires the consent of the Minister for Education.

Visit the Department of Education website to view the guidelines for the use of the word ‘university’ in a business name and to download an application form.

Part 3 restricted words and expressions

The words and expressions in the following table are restricted under Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Names Determination.

Apply in writing to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for their consent. Your application to APRA will need to provide reasons why consent to use the restricted word or expression is appropriate in your circumstances, and any supporting documentation. Refer to the APRA website for more information.

Once you receive written consent from APRA, email a copy of the consent to BN.Reviews@asic.gov.au

Item

Word or expression

Minister

301

ADI

APRA

302

Authorised deposit-taking institution

APRA

303

Bank

APRA

304

Banker

APRA

305

Banking

APRA

306

Building society

APRA

307

Credit society

APRA

308

Credit union

APRA

309

Friendly society (in relation to the conduct of a financial business)

APRA

Specific name restrictions in other legislation

Other Commonwealth legislation also prohibits the use of words that suggest a connection with certain business without the consent of the responsible Commonwealth portfolio Minister. For example, the Defence Regulation 2016 prohibits the use of words such as ‘Navy’ or ‘Defence Force’ in connection with a trade, business, calling or profession.

When we register a business name, we are not required to consider all other specific name restrictions.However, where a proposed business name includes a word restricted by other Commonwealth legislation, we may consider the name to be undesirable if it suggests a connection with Government that does not exist. In such cases the applicant may apply for Ministerial consent to use the name. For more information, see other laws impacting business names

Review of decisions

A decision made by an Authorised ASIC Officer in relation to an application for Ministerial consent to the use of an otherwise undesirable name (section 27(2) of the Act), is reviewable by the Minister and the Minister's decision is reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.

Decision made by an Authorised ASIC Officer in relation to applications for consent to the use of words or expressions that are otherwise restricted (section 9(1) and (2) of the Names Determination) are not reviewable under the Act.

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Last updated: 15/07/2020 02:50