The importance of registering a business name

So, you’re a new startup company. It’s an exciting new chapter. After months of toing and froing you’ve finally found the perfect name for your business. What next? Read on and we’ll tell you why it’s important to register your business name.

Reason 1: Mandatory requirement

It’s a legal requirement in Australia to register the name of your business in which you trade under. This applies whether you operate your business as a sole trader, through a partnership or a trust. You will also need to register the trading name if your company trades under a different name to the company name. 

You do not have to register a business name if the name you trade under:

  • is your first name (or initials) and your last name; 
  • includes all of the partners’ names of the partnership; or
  • is the same name as your registered company name.

You will need to register a business name if:

  • the business name includes other words with your name, such as John Smith & Sons;
  • you are trading under a name that is different from your own name; or
  • you are operating a company (Pty Ltd) and want to trade under a different name to your company name.

Reason 2: Branding

From business cards, stationary, advertising and marketing materials to the domain name for your business’ website, your business name will be on everything. It’s about creating your brand and reputation and protecting them from being used by other businesses.

How do I register my business name?

Before you can register your business name, you’ll need to do a few things first:

  1. apply for an ABN through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 
  2. check with IP Australia to ensure that your business name is not registered as a trademark by someone else – if it is a registered trademark you will not be able to use it.

Once you’ve completed the above you can then register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You can register your business name for a period of one or three years. You must then renew your registration at the end of the period if you want to continue using the name.

You should also consider registering your business name as a trademark with IP Australia for added protection. Why? Stay tuned for our IP and trademark article.

We can assist you with all your business needs, including providing business structuring advice, company incorporation, preparation of shareholder or partnership agreements and drafting tailored terms and conditions of trade to protect your business from matters that inevitably arise.  At Cohen Legal our business is protecting yours.