Do I need to register a business name?

By Vivian Michael | Business Structures

Do I need to register a business name?

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Updated: 28 September 2019

Here’s a guide for whether you need to register your business name.

When to register your business name

You’ll need to register your business name if its a name other than your legal entity name.

So what’s a legal entity name?

This is simply the name that you’d use on your contracts, registrations or leases. 

Your legal name can be different than your business name. 

For example if you have set up a company called Example Pty Ltd but you are using the business name Bob’s Car Repairs, you’ll need to register the business name Bob’s Car Repairs.

What about unregistered trading names?

A trading name is an unregistered name that businesses could use before the introduction of the National Business Names Register on 28 May 2012. 

Importantly, a trading name is not a registered business name. 

If you want to use your trading name after October 2023, you’ll need to register it. 

When you won’t need to register your business name

You won’t need to register your business name in these cases: 

  • If April Anderson operates a sole trader skin care business and using her own name to operate the business, then there’s no need to register the business name. 

  • If you have 2 partners named Chris Christy and James June operating a partnership using their full names, they don’t need to register their business names. 

National registration

The great news is that your registration operates statewide in Australia so you won’t need to register your business name in each state. 

Protecting your business name

To protect your business name, you may want to consider a trademark because simply registering your business name does not provide you with protection from other businesses using a similar trading name. 

I wish you every success in your ventures! 


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About the Author

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to make quality business legal services accessible to entrepreneurs launching in Australia that would otherwise DIY, rely on legacy contracts or go without.

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