Step 2

A new national business names registration service has replaced the state/territory systems, so that businesses only need to register their name with the single register nationally.

The national business names registration service started on 28 May 2012 and will be administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Search the relevant databases

You can search the relevant databases to find out if the business name you want is available. It's important to check before registering a business name, company name or domain name, because using an already registered name or something similar has legal implications.

Failing to check the availability of your name could be expensive and you risk losing any brand recognition you've built up in the market. For instance, if you inadvertently infringe someone's trade mark, you could be sued, and you could also be required to change your business name and remove all traces of the name from your business, products, labeling, packaging, vehicles, stationery, advertising material, website and uniforms.

Furthermore, when establishing a business, you should not spend money on any of the above items until the name has been registered in case it is unavailable.

Online search tools

You can check the availability of business names, company names, domain names and trade marks in Australia by using the following online search tools:

• Business names - ASIC Connect

• Company names - ASIC Connect

Trade marks - Intellectual Property (IP) Australia

  • They provide a free online search tool - ™ Check
  • Their staff can also search existing registered or pending trade mark.
  • They provide a report indicating if there is a registered trade mark the same or similar to your intended business name.
  • It is advised to compare the results of the two searches.

• Domain names - Australian Domain Authority (auDA)

  • Use the service to find out which domain names are registered in Australia.
  • The service does not provide information about the creation or expiry dates of domain names.
  • It's also a good idea to check availability with a recognised domain registrar.
  • Registrars are also listed on the auDA website.

What's next...

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Related Information

Business Brief to view:
Name of the Game

Checklist to view:
Business Starters Checklist

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