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Identical Names Check
Search Here:

(The above search facility uses a link to ASIC's Identical Names Check. Use this link to check whether the proposed company name, or an effectively identical name, has already been registered, as either a company name or as a business name, or reserved as a company name. This link is not to suggest that Incorporator has any association or affiliation with ASIC or any sponsorship from, or endorsement by, ASIC.)

HOWEVER THERE ARE MORE CONSIDERATIONS TO THE AVAILABILITY AND CHOICE OF A NAME THAN SIMPLY ESTABLISHING THAT AN IDENTICAL NAME HAS NOT ALREADY BEEN REGISTERED OR RESERVED. UNLESS YOU ARE ENTIRELY CLEAR ABOUT THIS YOU SHOULD READ FURTHER BELOW.

Deceptively Similar Names
First, please note - even if a name is available - in the sense that ASIC will allow it to be registered as a company name - if it is deceptively similar to another name you may be subject to legal and other action by the owners of the other name. They may allege that your company name is illegally misleading and deceptive or that you/your company are engaging in the tort of 'passing off'. Also, if the name is misleading and deceptive in itself, the name may be in breach of various Cwlth, State and Territory laws prohibiting misleading and deceptive conduct.

Similar Names Check
Search Here:

(The above search facility uses a link to ASIC's National Names Index/Database. Use this link to check whether the proposed company name, or an effectively identical name, or a similar name has already been registered, as either a company name or as a business name, or reserved as a company name. Pay particular attention to the first name in the list - if any - produced by this search facility as even if it is not strictly or effectively identical to the proposed company name it is likely to have the greatest chance of being deceptively similar to the proposed company name. This link is not to suggest that Incorporator has any association or affiliation with ASIC or any sponsorship from, or endorsement by, ASIC.)

General rules about availability of a name
Generally speaking, a proposed company name will be available UNLESS:

1. it is identical to another already registered Australian company or business name or an Australian reserved company name***

(***However, if the applicant for the registration/incorporation of the company is either the registered owner(s) of the identical Australian registered business name(s) or is applying on behalf of, and with the authority of, the registered owner(s) of the identical Australian registered business name(s), then the proposed company name will be available, despite its 'identicalness'. Also, if the proposed company name has been specifically reserved for the proposed company's use it will obviously be available for use by the proposed company.)

OR

2. it is unacceptable for registration (for example because it contains a restricted word or is obscene or is otherwise offensive).

(section 147(1) of the Corporations Act 2001)

'Identicalness' of a name
ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) keeps a combined list of registered Australian Company Names, registered Australian Business Names and reserved Australian company names (this list is accessed by both the 'Search here' functions above). If any of the registered or reserved names are identical to the name of your proposed company, the name will not be available to your proposed company***.

(***However, if the applicant for the registration/incorporation of the company is either the registered owner(s) of an identical Australian registered business name(s) or is applying on behalf of, and with the authority of, the registered owner(s) of an identical Australian registered business name(s) then the proposed company name will be available, despite its 'identicalness'. Also, if the proposed company name has been specifically reserved for the proposed company's use it will obviously be available for use by the proposed company.)

Effectively identical names
Not only will proposed names which are strictly identical to existing registered and reserved names not be available. Names which, although not strictly identical, are effectively identical, that is once certain parts of the names are excluded from consideration, will also not be available. (The 'Identical Names Check, Search here:' function above also takes into account effectively identical names.)

Before comparing two names to see whether they are effectively identical, one must first 'strip out' (i.e. ignore) each of the following words if they appear in either or both of the names being compared:

i) 'The', 'THE', 'the', 'A', or 'a' - if they are the first word of either or both of the names.

ii) 'Proprietary', 'PROPRIETARY', 'Pty', 'Limited', 'LIMITED', 'Ltd', 'LTD', 'No Liability', 'NO LIABILITY' or 'NL' - with or without full stops indicating abbreviations - in one or both of the names.

Also, a word in the plural form will be regarded as being identical to a word in the singular form and vice versa. For example 'cat' and 'cats' would be regarded as being identical.

Further, words, other characters and symbols will be not be considered to be different merely because they are in different sizes and cases (i.e. upper or lower case), different fonts or other characters, have accents, spaces between letters, numbers, characters, symbols or punctuation marks. For example 'cat' would be regarded as being identical to 'CAT' or 'cat', or 'Cāt', 'C at' and 'CAT''.

Moreover, each of the words in the left hand column below are regarded as being identical to each of the adjacent words in the right hand column:

Australian
Company
Co
Coy
Number
and
Incorporated
Corporation
Australian Company Number

Aust
Co or Coy
Company or Coy
Company or Co
No
&
Inc
Corp
ACN

 

(Regulation 2B.6.01(1) and Schedule 6, Part 1 of the Corporations Regulations 2001)

Unacceptable Names
As previously mentioned, offensive and obscene names will not be allowed to be used as, or as part of, company names.

In addition, there are a whole range of names which are specified in the regulations to be unacceptable (Schedule 6, Part 2).

In summary they include names falsely suggesting a connection with:

  • any Government, State, Municipality, Territory, Department or Local Authority
  • the Crown
  • the Royal Family
  • an ex-servicemen's organisation
  • Sir Donald Bradman

There are other restricted words and phrases, namely:

  • Aboriginal Corporation
  • Aboriginal Council
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Chamber of Manufacturers
  • Chartered
  • Consumer
  • Co-operative
  • Executor
  • Friendly Society (other than in relation to the conduct of a financial business - but see 'Consent Comments' below)
  • GST
  • G.S.T.
  • Guarantee
  • Incorporated
  • Made in Australia
  • R.S.L.
  • RSL
  • Star Bowkett
  • Stock Exchange
  • Torres Strait Islander Corporation
  • Trust
  • Trustee

(Regulation 2B.6.01(2) and Schedule 6, Parts 2 and 3 of the Corporations Regulations 2001)

Also, consent is required to use the following restricted words or phrases:

Anzac
(requires the consent of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs)

ADI, authorised deposit-taking institution, bank, banker, banking, building society, credit society, credit union, friendly society (in relation to the conduct of a financial business)
(require the consent of APRA)

Geneva Cross, Red Crescent, Red Cross , Red Lion and Sun
(require the consent of the Minister for Defence)

United Nations
(requires the consent of the Minister for Foreign Affairs)

University
(requires the consent of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs)

(Regulation 2B.6.02(1)(b)(i) and Schedule 6, Parts 4 and 5 of the Corporations Regulations 2001)


Please note that all of the information above relates to the availability of company names (i.e. the proposed/possible names of stand-alone legal entities to be incorporated, or possibly incorporated, under the Corporations Act 2001). The above information does not deal with the availability of proposed business or trading names - which is a separate topic dealt with here: Business Name Search).


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