The difference between a trading name, business name and company name

Entity Description
Business name

A business name is simply a name under which you conduct a business. You must register a business name in Australia, unless you trade under your own name, or fall within an exemption.

For example, if you trade solely in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Registration on the Business Names Register identifies who is behind a business name.

Trading name

Before 28 May 2012, the Australian Business Register (ABR) collected names used by entities to carry out their business activities. 

The ABR displays this name as a trading name.

If you would like to remove the trading name appearing against your Australian Business Number (ABN), you will need to contact the ABR

Company name

A company is a separate legal entity registered with ASIC.  A company has its own name which is required to include the legal terms or abbreviations 'pty' and/or 'ltd' at the end of the name.

A company may choose to register a business name if it wants to carry on a business using its name without the legal terms, or if it wants to use a different name.  

Brand names and Franchise names

Many businesses have a brand name that is used by different entities.  For example, ABC business may have ABC Operations, ABC Logistics, and ABC Security.

Franchises and other business structures may provide a license to an entity to use a name. Each entity, including franchisees and licensees, operating with a business name must register the name on the Business Names Register.

Registered business names may be distinguished by a word or phrase, e.g. ABC Operations and ABC Seymour. The word may be a suburb or town, a year, a colour, an entity name or another word relevant to the business.

Names that are identical or nearly identical to an existing registered business name are not allowed.

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Last updated: 30/03/2021 09:26