What is a business name?
A business name is simply a name or title under which a person or entity conducts a business.
Watch our YouTube video about What is a business name and how to apply for one.
You will need to register a business name if you carry on business within Australia and are not trading under your own name.
Exceptions to this include:
- if you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname
- if you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all of the partners' names, or
- if you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company's name.
The law does not allow any changes from the business holder’s name if you wish to rely on the above exemptions. For example, if your name is John Smith, and the name of your business is ‘John Smith & Co’, you will need to register the business name ‘John Smith & Co’.
If you are unsure about whether you are exempt from registering a business name, have a look through our Regulatory Guide 235 which gives some helpful examples.
Registering a business name does not provide exclusive ownership of your business name. It also doesn't prevent other people from being able to register and use similar names.
To gain exclusivity over a particular business name, you need to register it as a trade mark with IP Australia.