New National Business Name Register – Update

We have previously written about the difference between business names and trade marks. Business names are separate from trade marks and you must register a business name if you are trading under a different name from you or your company’s name.

The Australian Federal Government has taken concrete steps towards reforming the way that business names are managed in Australia and has passed the Business Names Registration Act 2011 in November 2011. The Act establishes a National Business Names Register which will be administered by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, and will streamline and consolidate the various business name registration schemes in each state and territory.

The objectives of the reforms are to:

  • Allow for online applications and registrations for business names and ABNs
  • Provide an online database to allow ease of access and searching
  • Streamline and consolidate the various schemes into one scheme
  • Reduce costs
  • Avoid confusion over similar names
  • Determine if names are unsuitable or undesirable

The National Business Names Register is expected to be operational by mid-2012.

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