Your Business Name
If you use a name for your business which is different from your company name, it must be registered.
The National Names Registration Act 2011 changes how you register your business name. It came into play on 28 May this year.
Previously, business name registration was state or territory-based. You had to register your business name only in those states or territories in which it was being used. Now, no matter in which states or territories you use your business name, it must be registered nationally.
The new national business names register is administered by ASIC. If your business name was previously registered in particular states or territories, it will have been automatically migrated to the new national register. ASIC will contact you when it is time to renew the registration.
If your business name registered in, say, Victoria, is the same as one that was registered by someone else in, say, Western Australia, before 28 May 2012, both names will be moved to the new register. You will both be asked to renew the names at registration renewal time.
For names registered after 28 May 2012, it will not be possible for the same name to be registered more than once.
Now that the new register is up and running, you can check it to see if someone has registered the same business name as you. If they have, and both businesses want to operate in the same state or territory, you may end up in a trade mark dispute – especially if the two businesses are similar.
Registering a business name is not the same as trade marking a business name. You are obliged to register your business name so that people know who they are doing business with. You have the option of applying for trade mark registration (in Australia or overseas) in order to protect your intellectual property. Consider applying to register your business name as a trade mark.
Check the register to see if your business name is registered and that your details are correct. Check if the same business name has been registered by someone else.
Author: Sonnie Bailey