The following guidance about the use of symbols in company names appeared in ASIC's "InFocus" publication of May 1999 (Volume 8 Issue 2) -

"Use of symbols in company names

ASIC's policy concerning the use of symbols in company names has changed, effective from 10 May 1999. Previously, symbols have not been permitted for use in company names. The following symbols are now allowed to be used as symbols in company names:

@ at
# hash
$ dollar
% percent
* asterisk
+ plus [No longer allowed - Editor's note]
= equals
< less than [No longer allowed - Editor's note]
> greater than [No longer allowed - Editor's note]

ASIC will take these symbols into account when comparing one name with another and these symbols will be acceptable as distinguishing elements in company names.

These symbols have been chosen as they are readily accessible on the keyboard, are not punctuation (i.e. they convey some meaning and are not mere word-separators) and are in common use in the commercial world.

For example, @Work Solutions Pty. Ltd. would not be considered to be identical to At Work Solutions Pty. Ltd. as the use of the '@' symbol against the word 'At' makes the names different.

The new policy also allows for the following symbols to be allowed in company names, but to be treated as punctuation. Like other punctuation such as the full stop, comma, exclamation mark, and so on, they would be disregarded for comparing names:

_ underscore
- hyphen
/ slash
| pipe
\ backslash

For, example, Stop/Go Driving School Pty. Ltd, Stop-Go Driving School Pty. Ltd. and Stop_Go Driving School Pty. Ltd. would all be regarded as being identical to each other and to Stop Go Driving School Pty. Ltd. Therefore these names would not be allowed to be registered against each other.

For more information concerning the use of symbols in company names contact ASIC's enquiry line on 03 5177 3988 or your nearest ASIC Business Centre."