Business Name – How protected am I?

What’s in a name?

You may want to trade under a name that better reflects what you do (eg: Melbourne Garden Supplies) than just trading under your own name.  Customers will remember what you do before they remember your name.

“Roadfast Hot Rod Parts” will get you more business that “John Brown Sales”, it looks better in an ad, in Yellow pages, on the net and on your letterhead and business cards.  It can tell the consumer what you do, where you do it and how good you are at it – “Frankston Gym Equipment Professionals” or “Australiawide Scaffolding Specialists” says it all.

Why register the Business Name?

Well, for starters, because you have to. Any person or business that trades under a name that is different to its legal name, is required to register that business name.

But the real reason is because registration links you to the name and all the goodwill that you build up around that name, and protects you from others registering your name.

Who protects me?

Recent national legislation has handed control over names registration to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the corporate watchdog. In the past each state and territory controlled the registration of business names in their own region. This has meant that a business trading in several states needed to register their business name separately in each state.  Hopefully the transfer to ASIC will remove some of the red tape; costs of Australianwide registration will decrease, it will be easier to secure the registration on the spot and Australian Business Number (ABN) registration will be able to be secured at the same time.  The plan is that the registration process will link to trademark and domain name searches.

What if I already have a Business Name?

It’s all good, do nothing. Your name will have been transferred to the new system. You might want to check that your business name transferred properly.

The expiry dates of existing business names will remain the same and ASIC will issue renewal reminder notices in due course.

My Business Name is the same as another in a different state.  What happens then?

Both names will be registered.  Where both businesses already exist there will be no changes required to invoices, stationery, business cards, etc.  All new business name applications however will be subject to the availability of the name.

If you want to find out more or need some help registering your business name, contact Noel or Amanda on (03) 9585 7555 or