20 July 2015

Updated Business Names registration rules

The Abbott Government has today announced updates to the Business Names registration rules as part of an ongoing commitment to ensuring Australia is a global leader in facilitating small business start-ups. 

An existing business may be devastated by a new entrant mimicking its name.  Equally, a new business that inadvertently echoes the name of another may incur great costs unwinding confusion.

The new Business Names (Availability of Names) Determination 2015 and accompanying Guidelines will ensure small businesses can rely on the integrity of their business name registration and that new business name applications are appropriately vetted.

Under the changes, the list of expressions considered ‘nearly identical’ will be expanded and rules around common name terminologies will be clarified and simplified. 

These changes reduce the risk of business names being registered where the public may be misled by nearly identical business names.

They will also ensure ASIC is still able to maintain fast and efficient processing of new business name applications.

Currently 98 per cent of business names applications are registered within one business day, ensuring that entrepreneurs are able to start a business quickly and with minimal regulatory burden.

The National Business Names Register, which has been in operation for over three years, delivers a single online national registration point for the registration of business names. Since its commencement, over half a million new names have been registered, taking the total number of registered business names to over 2 million.

These changes are in addition to the Government’s streamlining business registration measure announced as part of the $5.5 billion Growing Jobs and Small Business package in the 2015-16 Budget. As part of this, the Government is simplifying business registration processes by developing a single online registration site for all businesses. 

Further information can be found on the ComLaw website or ASIC's website.