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Business name availability tests




Back to Business name availability


The Business Names Registration Act 2011 outlines the circumstances under which a business name is available to an entity.

When testing business name availability, we apply a series of automated tests to assist us in assessing that it:

A breakdown of these tests are provided below.


Invalid characters



Acceptable characters include all numbers, upper and lower-case letters as well as the prescribed special characters below.


Table 1: Valid Character Set



Character
Character
Character
Character
space
8
Q
l
!
9
R
m
"
:
S
n
#
;
T
o
$
=
U
p
%
?
V
q
&
@
W
r
'
A
X
s
(
B
Y
t
)
C
Z
u
*
D
\
v
,
E
_
w
-
F
a
x
.
G
b
y
/
H
c
z
0
I
d
{
1
J
e
|
2
K
f
}
3
L
g
4
M
h
5
N
i
6
O
j
7
P
k

Undesirable words or expressions



Your proposed business name will be checked for any words or expressions in which:

For example, the name 'Department of Finance Money Exchange' would be refused as this suggests a connection to the Commonwealth Department of Finance.

For more information, see our Guidelines for Ministerial consent - Undesirable Names page.


Restricted words or expressions



Your proposed business name will be checked for any restricted words or expression. If one has been identified, you may require Ministerial consent to register the name.

In addition to this, if a word or expression has been found to have the same (or similar) meaning to a restricted word or expression — it may also require Ministerial consent to register the name.

For example, the name 'Online charity auctions' would be checked as it contains the restricted word 'Charity'.

For more information, see our Guidelines for Ministerial consent - Restricted Words and Expressions page.


Name already used by another entity



Your proposed business name will be checked to ensure that it (or a similar name) is not already being used by another entity.


Name held for transfer



Your proposed business name will be checked against our list of business names (that are in the process of being held to transfer) from the existing business name holder to the new business name holder.

If you are to be the new business name holder, you can apply by using the consent to transfer number the current holder has provided you and your registration will come into effect once the previous registration has been cancelled.


Identical names



Your proposed business name will be checked to ensure it is not already registered or reserved to another body under the Corporations Act 2001.

The identical match is assessed after the following matters are disregarded.

> See Part 1 of the Schedule 6 of the Corporations Regulations 2001.


If the company or business name contains...then...
A AN or THEdisregard these words (only if the first word)
PROPRIETARY, PTY, LIMITED, LTD, NO LIABILITY, NL disregard these words (in final position only)
a word in plural formconvert plural to singular form (so they are equivalent to singular form)
Examples:
  • CHILDREN to CHILD
  • BATTERIES to BATTERY
  • CARS to CAR.
COMPANY, COY, COtreat these words as equivalent to each other
NUMBER, NOtreat these words as equivalent to each other
AND, &treat these words as equivalent to each other
INCORPORATED, INCtreat these words as equivalent to each other
CORPORATION, CORPtreat these words as equivalent to each other
AUSTRALIAN COMPANY NUMBER, ACNtreat these words as equivalent to each other
AUST, AUSTRALIANtreat these words as equivalent to each other
differences relating to the size of characters, the type and case of letters, any accents, spacing between characters and punctuation marksdisregard.
Punctuation symbols are ! ( ) _ - { } : ; " ' ? , . / \ |


Identical business names and other lists



Your proposed business name will be checked to ensure it is not already registered or reserved to other notified lists, such as Government body names.

An identical match is assessed after the following matters are disregarded.

> See section 5 of the Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2012.

If the proposed business name OR the name against which it is being checked contains...then...
domain extension and host name elements the domain extension and host name elements are disregarded (including where additional spacing is used or the word DOT is substituted for a dot symbol). Examples include - WWW, BIZ, COM. AU, COM, NET, ORG, CO, AU, NZ, UK
Examples of names considered to contain domain name elements:
  • FROSTYICECREAM COM AU becomes frostyicecream
  • WWW.WRITEYOURWILL.COM becomes writeyourwill
  • FREZNO.COM becomes frezno
  • E-BUY.CO.UK becomes e-buy
  • HELPERS DOT ORG DOT AU becomes helpers
A AN or THE disregard these words (unless it is the whole name)
ASSOCIATION, CO-OPERATIVE, INCORPORATED, LIMITED, LTD, NO LIABILITY, NL , PROPRIETARY, PTYdisregard these words/legal elements (in one or both names)
word in plural formconvert plural to singular form (so they are equivalent to singular form). Examples:
  • CHILDREN to CHILD,
  • BATTERIES to BATTERY
  • CARS to CAR
differences relating to the size of characters, the type and case of letters, any accents, spacing between characters and punctuation marksdisregard. Punctuation symbols are ! ( ) _ - { } : ; " ' ? , . / \ |
words in a different orderdisregard. Each of the following is to be treated as a word:
  • a character separated by spaces
  • a group of characters separated by spaces
  • an abbreviation, or
  • an acronym.


Business names registered to another body



Your proposed business name will be checked to ensure that it (or a similar name) is not already being used by another entity.

This includes all registered or held business names passed to us from a State or Territory register on commencement of the national business name service.

In this instance and in consultation with the business name holder, we have the discretion to add a distinguishing word or expression to a business name record. It is important to note that this will not form part of the business name.


Names registered to another body on a state or territory register



This test is for an identical match against names registered to another body on a notified State or Territory register.

> See Schedule 1 of the Business Names Registration Act 2011.

Depending on the State or Territory, notified registers generally include - Cooperative, Incorporated Association, Limited and/or Incorporated Limited Partnership.


Business names held subject to finalisation of an activity



Your proposed business name will be checked against our list of held business names which are the subject to a registration application, submitted to ASIC, but await confirmation of the registration of an Australian Business Number, payment of the registration fee within the prescribed period.

For example, an application to register the business name 'Barry’s Buses' was received and processed by ASIC on 26 November 2013. The applicant selected to pay the registration fee by invoice and has not yet paid.

The business name is not registered but will be held until the fee has been paid.

We are also required to hold cancelled business names for a period of four months after cancellation is complete.

For example, the business name 'Bank Street Cafeteria' was cancelled on 4 January 2014. It will not be available for registration until 4 May 2014.


Words and expressions taken to have the same meaning



Your proposed business name will be checked for a 'nearly identical' match in consideration of words and expressions taken to mean the same.

When comparing a business name with another name to determine whether the names are 'nearly identical', a word or expression is taken to be the same as each other word or expression in a word group.

For example, the business name 'Speedy Ceramic Tiles' will be considered nearly identical to 'Speedy Tiles' and will not be available for registration. The words ‘Ceramic Tiles’ and ‘Tiles’ are listed in the same word group and are taken to be the same.

Please be aware that the nature of a business is not taken into consideration in determining whether a business name is available for registration.


Words that sound the same



Your proposed business name will be checked to see if it produces a pronunciation 'match' result against another name on the register.

This test will be undertaken using the literal transcription of the proposed business name and the names against which it is being compared to determine if the names sound the same.

We will check your name for a pronunciation match against:

For example, the following may be considered identical using the pronunciation test:

Further linksDescription
Business Names Registration Act Opens external windowThis Act details the legislative framework for business names in Australia.
Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2012 Opens external windowThis Determination provides whether business names are identical or nearly identical, whether business names are undesirable names and whether the use of some words of expressions should be restricted.


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