National business names registration

A new national business names registration system is due to start in the first half of 2011. The proposed changeover date is 4 April 2011.

The purpose of business name registration is to protect consumers by identifying persons trading under names that aren’t the same as their personal, company or other entity name.

The scheme will also reduce administration for businesses trading in multiple jurisdictions.

Currently business names must be registered in each state or territory a business operates in. The new system requires business name registration nationally only, regardless of whether a business is not carried on in every state.

The National Register will
• Replace all the current state based registers
• Be administered and maintained by ASIC
• Be online
• Carry out automatic checks for identical or similar company or business names which are already registered

The ABN/Business Names Registration Project’s objectives include:

  • making business registration available online 24/7;
  • improving awareness about the different rights conferred by business names in comparison to trade marks;
  • enabling registration in one process for both an ABN and national business name.

New Registrations will require an ABN in order to register a new
business name.

Existing registrations will not require an ABN if the business name is
currently registered on a state register and does not have an ABN.

All current registrations will transfer across to the new national register.

If the same business name is registered in multiple jurisdictions by the same entity, all registrations will be merged into the one registration.
If the same business name is registered in multiple jurisdictions by different entities, registrations will be distinguished by state identifiers at the end of the name eg (SA), (NSW).

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