Last August, we flagged the planned changes to the business names registration system and it has since passed through the Federal Parliament and become law
The expected launch date of the new National Business Names Register, hot on the heels of the new Personal Properties Securities Register, is on track for 28 May, subject to all the states passing the necessary legislation to allow the Federal Government to control business names by that date.
Given the teething problems with the PPS Register, it will be important for business name owners to check the new Register once it is operable to verify that their business name details have been migrated correctly. If you own identical business names in several states, you may wish to consolidate them into one registration to save costs and administration into the future. If your business name is due for renewal around the end of May, you may need to consider the timing of your renewal.
If you are going to be trying to register a name under the new system, you should be aware that names will not be available if they are identical or “nearly identical” to a company or business name that is already registered, they are “undesirable”, or they comprise or contain a “restricted word or expression”, as prescribed by the Minister. There will be a procedure to apply to ASIC for a review of decisions that you don’t agree with, and a further appeal will lie to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Registration of your business or company (trading) name as a trade mark remains as important as it has ever been. Trade mark registration will provide you with proprietary rights in the name, which business and company name registration will not, and will give you rights to force others to change their identical or similar trading names.