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Coming Soon: The National Business Names Register
Back in October 2011, Federal Parliament passed the new National Business Names law which will nationalise and standardise business name registration Australia-wide. This new national business names system is expected to commence in May 2012, provided each State and Territory passes the required enabling legislation.
Once the new national business names system commences:
- Responsibility for management of the business name registration system will rest with ASIC.
- Businesses can register their business name on a single national register rather than registering in each State and Territory in which they expect to trade.
- Businesses will only need to nominate one principal place of business rather than having to nominate one in each State in which they have a registration as is currently required.
- Existing business names registered with each State and Territory’s fair trading department will be automatically transferred to the new national register – business name owners don’t have to do anything.
- Applicants must have an ABN in order to register a business name. This is a significant change from the present where an ABN is not a pre-requisite to business name registration. Note that holders of existing business name registrations who do not have an ABN will not need to have an ABN in order to renew their registration.
- Where the same business name is registered in different States by different businesses, ASIC will attach a geographic identifier (or some other distinctive mark) to these business names on the national register – e.g. Bob’s Plumbing (Vic) and Bob’s Plumbing (NSW). The identifier does not form part of the business name though, so both businesses will be entitled to use the business name (without geographic identifier) Australia-wide.
Did You Know?
A registered business name gives you no rights over that name. You cannot claim ownership of the name or stop someone from using a similar business name. If you want to have any of those rights, you need a registered trade mark. Only a registered trade mark gives you exclusive ownership rights over a name (or logo, slogan, jingle, etc) and allows you to stop others from infringing your mark.
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Markwell is a boutique intellectual property firm that provides no-nonsense, business-relevant, expert advice in trade marks, domain names and intellectual property law. Representing brand owners in Australia, Asia and Worldwide.
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