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How do I register a business name?

The application form to register a business name can be found at the relevant government business website for each state or territory. A registration fee applies and the cost and duration of registration differs between individual states and territories. You will need to apply for a business name in each state or territory in which you intend to operate. If you intend to operate or trade in multiple states consider setting up a company. A company has exclusive rights to its name throughout Australia. The process is complete when you receive a business registration certificate.

Here is a list of the relevant websites for each state or territory:

            Australian Capital Territory
            Business & Industry Development ACT

            New South Wales
            NSW Office of Fair Trading

            Northern Territory
            Department of Justice

            Queensland Office of Fair Trading

            South Australia
            Office of Consumer and Business Affairs

            Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

            Consumer Affairs Victoria

            Western Australia
            Department of Consumer and Employment Protection

Choosing a business name

A company can operate under its own name without registering a business name. A company has exclusive rights to the name throughout Australia. Your company doesn’t need to register a business name unless it owns or operates a business with a different trading name.

You will need to register a business name unless you are trading as your first name and surname, or initials and surname. The registration form will give you the opportunity to nominate more than one business name. If your first choice is not available then the next available name will be processed.

Check the availability of your proposed business name by searching Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This is a free online facility which displays registered business names, similar business names, and company names. Some states have their own specific online search facilities. A name that is too similar to another business name, or company name, will not be registered. Search the Register of Trade Marks to ensure there is no trade mark identical or similar to your proposed business name. If there is no existing trade mark, you can register the trade mark which will give you the exclusive use of your particular business name throughout Australia.


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