Updated rules for determining the availability of a business name

The Business Names Registration Act 2011 outlines the circumstances under which a business name is available to an entity.

The rules for determining whether a business name is available for registration were updated on 20 July 2015. The Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2015 (the 2015 Determination) specifies the new rules for determining whether a business name is identical to another business name, whether it is undesirable, or whether it contains a restricted word or expression.

Media release - Updated business names registration rules

Words and expressions taken to be the same

Schedule 1 of the 2015 Determination includes words and expressions that are taken to be the same when comparing a business name with another name (other than a company name) to determine if the names are identical. When assessing the availability of a business name, ASIC has no discretion to consider any other words or expressions to be the same, other than those outlined in Schedule 1.

The updated Determination includes additions and changes to the items in Schedule 1. The updates reflect the changing nature of words and expressions used in registering business names since the commencement of the national register in 2012. The determination includes more words and expressions that are considered the same for the purposes of assessing identical or nearly identical business names.

Have you completed the application requirements for your proposed business name?

If you submitted an application but did not complete the application requirements prior to 20 July 2015, the proposed business name will be reassessed by ASIC to determine its availability under the new rules.

For ASIC to register a business name to an entity we must be satisfied:

  • The entity has an ABN; 
  • The registration fee has been paid; 
  • The name is available to the entity; and
  • The entity is not disqualified.

The most likely reason for not completing the application requirements for your business name registration is:

  • Your registration fee has not been paid; or
  • Your registration of an Australian Business Number (ABN) has not been confirmed.

Words and expressions restricted for use in a business name

Schedule 2, Part 1 of the 2015 Determination includes words and expressions that are restricted for use in a business name unless the Minister has given written consent to the use of the word or expression. Certain ASIC officers have been authorised by the Minister to perform the power to give consent for the use of restricted words in a business name.

The updated Determination includes additions to Schedule 2, Part 1 to reduce the risk of business names being registered where the public may be misled into believing they are dealing with a company registered under the Corporations Act 2001 or a limited partnership when this is not the case.

The Minister has approved Guidelines for Ministerial consent to business names under the Business Names Registration Act 2011. The guidelines were updated effective 20 July 2015. Authorised ASIC officers will have regard to these guidelines in considering applications for consent.

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Last updated: 22/07/2019 11:22