14 June 2012 New National Business Names Register - Do I need to do anything?

By Phillip Briffa, Solicitor and Alistair Jaque, Partner

A New System

A new national business names registration service commenced on 28 May 2012. The new service replaces the previous State and Territory systems and is administered and managed by the Australian Securities Investments Commission. The national system is designed to reduce red tape, save time and cut costs for Australian businesses, who can now register and renew their business names at a single location for an annual fee of $30 or $70 for three years.

What does this mean for your business?
Assuming your existing business names were not due for renewal on or before 28 May 2012 you are not required to do anything. Your State and Territory business names were automatically transferred to the national register on 28 May.
If your business name was due for renewal before 28 May and you have not yet renewed the name, then you must first renew your business name with the Department of Fair Trading and pay any outstanding fees in the relevant State BEFORE your business name will transfer to the national register.
Was your business name registered in multiple jurisdictions before commencement of the new national system?
If so, all of your identical business names were transferred to, and would now appear on, the national business names register.
You may choose to renew one business name and let the others expire by not renewing them, or alternatively you can speed up this process by cancelling the business names that you no longer require. Cancelling the duplicate business names will not incur a fee.
What happens if your business name was registered by another business in a different jurisdiction before commencement of the new national register?
In this situation identical business names will all transfer to the national business names register. An additional identifier (such as the word ´New South Wales´) will appear on the register to assist in differentiating between identical business names in different States. This additional identifier does not form part of the business name, meaning you can continue to trade using your existing business name.
Simply registering your business name does not give you a proprietary interest in the name. To enjoy proprietary rights you should ensure your business name is registered as a trade mark in respect of the goods and services for which it is used.
If you would like us to help you protect your business name please contact:

Alistair Jaque, Partner  |  Phone: +61 2 9233 5544  |  Email:

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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