Before deciding on your new company name there are a number of factors that need to be considered before registration.
If your proposed company name is identical to an existing registered company then you are not allowed to register the company and must choose a different name.
If your proposed name is identical to a registered state business name which you, or the body you represent does not own, then that name is not available to you. If you do own the business name then you may proceed to register the company but must provide the details of the identical name in your application.
A name will be considered identical if it is too similar to an existing registered name once whitespace and certain characters are removed. Pluralisation of the name is also taken into consideration.
If your name contains words like 'ANZAC', 'Bank', 'Trust', etc you need to obtain consent from the appropriate ministerial body and submit evidence of the approval along with your company registration form. eCompanies does not support the submission of supporting documentation at this time. The full list of reserved words and the relevant ministerial bodies can be found in this document from ASIC.
If your proposed name is too similar, or misleadingly similar, to a registered state business name or registered company, then the owner may take action against you. You won't necessarily be prevented from registering the name but may be forced to change the name after registration.
To check for similar names you can use the National Names Index search at ASIC.
Registered or pending trademarks can be searched for using IP Australia's website. While a name won't be refused registration by ASIC the owner of a similar or identical trademark may take action against you.
If a name contains common swear words then ASIC will automatically reject your name. ASIC also reserves the right to reject any name it considers someone might find objectionable, or if your name is suggestive of illegal activity.
You have the option of using the ACN assigned by ASIC as your company name if you do not wish to choose one. The ACN is a 9 digit number which will be used in conjuction with your chosen legal elements as the company name.
For example if your ACN from ASIC happened to be 123 123 123 and the legal elements you chose when registering your company were Pty Ltd, then your company name would be 123 123 123 Pty Ltd
Choosing a company name and checking against existing names and trademarks is a straightforward process. Just remember it is entirely your responsibility to be aware of any problems that might arise from similarity with existing names or trademarks.
I was scratching my head trying to understand the the application form ASIC has supplied me when I stumbled upon ecompanies. Not only was my company registered in a couple of minutes, but it saved me having to arrange a time to go and lodge the company application form at the register office.
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