What is a business name?

A business name is a name or title under which a person or entity conducts a business.

Watch our YouTube video about What is a business name and how to apply for one.

When should I register a business name?

You will need to register a business name if you carry on business within Australia and are not trading under your own name.

Exceptions to this include:

  • if you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname
  • if you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all the partners' names, or
  • if you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company's name.

The law does not allow any changes from the business holder’s name if you wish to rely on the above exemptions. For example, if your name is John Smith, and the name of your business is ‘John Smith & Co’, you will need to register the business name ‘John Smith & Co’.

If you are unsure about whether you need to register a business name, look through the examples in Regulatory Guide 235.

What a business name registration does not provide

Registering a business name does not provide exclusive ownership of your business name. It also doesn't prevent other people from being able to register and use similar names.

To gain exclusivity over a particular business name, you need to register it as a trade mark with IP Australia.

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Last updated: 20/09/2016 11:51