Do I need to register a business name?
If you are using your own name - your given name(s) and/or initial(s) followed by your surname - as a business name, it does not have to be registered.
You need to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) if:
- you include other words with your name, such as Joan Smith Party Hire or John Smith & Sons
- you are trading under a name that is different from your own name
- you are operating a company (Pty Ltd) and want to trade under a different name to your company name.
Registering your business is important because it prevents you from mistakenly using the name of another Australian registered business, company or corporation. It also lets the public know who is conducting a business under the business name, and allows you to open a business bank account under your registered name.
You cannot use an unregistered business name, or a name that is different from your own name or company or corporation name.
Business name or company name?
A business name (e.g. Acme Trading Services) is different from a company name (e.g. Acme Pty Ltd). A business name is used by consumers to identify the company or persons behind a trading name. A company is a separate legal entity from its directors and shareholders.
Registering a company name prevents an identical business name or company name from being registered by competitors anywhere in Australia. If you want to operate your business as a company, you will need to register with ASIC.
Your rights as a registered business name holder
Registering a business name only gives you certain rights over that name. For example, it does not:
- give you ownership of the name or the exclusive right to use the name
- stop another person from registering a similar name
- prevent the name being registered as a trade mark
- prevent the name being used by someone that has already registered it as a trade mark
- protect you from legal action if the name of your business infringes the intellectual property rights of another (for example, a name which is a registered trade mark).
To protect your business name further, you need to register it as a trade mark.
- Last updated
- 05 March 2013
General enquiries call 13 25 23 (option 3)