How to do a business name search
After choosing a natural and fitting name for your business, you must conduct a business name search to ensure it is available and acceptable to register.
Is your business name available?
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will check the suitability of your name, but it is good to check it first yourself to avoiding having your application rejected.
Your business name can't be identical to, or likely to be mistaken for, an existing business name or company name already registered in Australia.
You are legally obligated to register a business name. It is a separate process and unrelated to intellectual property protection (e.g. trademark registrations).
Search for a business name
You can check if a name is available for registration by searching the ASIC register. The register will compare your name against an index of Australian corporations, businesses and government bodies.
Before you register a business name, you should also search:
- the free IP Australia Trade Mark Check (TM Check) to see if your proposed business name is identical or similar to a registered trademark
- .au Domain Administration Limited (.auDA) to see if the domain name you want to register for a business website is available
- the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to see what licences you may need to run a particular type of business in each state or territory.
Is your business name acceptable?
Before you apply to register your business name, you should check that it is acceptable. Your business name is considered acceptable if it:
- is not misleading
- is non-offensive to the general public (not just certain groups)
- uses proper English characters (upside down or backward letters are not acceptable)
- does not include prohibited words or words with special meaning - for example, 'commonwealth', 'federal', 'trust', 'trustee' or 'Made in Australia'
- does not falsely suggest or claim powerful connections.