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Registering a business name in the ACT?

By s - 5 September 2011 15

I submitted an application to register my business name with the ACT Office of Regulatory Services.

My application was rejected because my name was “too similar” to another business name, even though that business isn’t even in Canberra!

Does any one know how to appeal this, and how long does it take?

What are my chances of winning the appeal?

Thanks heaps!

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Registering a business name in the ACT?
TSI 4:12 pm 08 Sep 11

I too, tried for a business name in the ACT but was rejected as a business in Qld had a ‘similar’ name. Again, what they did had absolutely no relation to what I did.

I appealed and was told then it was because the ACT was such a small area, they relied on the ‘similar’ rule rather than the ‘same’ rule.

I ended up changing the name of my Company so it reflected the business name I wanted. So much easier and cheaper to do it that way. ASIC are so much easier to deal with.

ace2279 8:46 am 07 Sep 11

I’ve had two appeals with the ORS one successful and one not. The first one I used the justification that the other business was in NSW and that they provided a completely different type of service to mine (they were a bus/coach company and I provide consultancy). I reasoned that it would be amost impossible for a customer to confuse the two businesses once they read a description/saw or heard an ad/viewed website etc.

My second attempt was rejected upon appeal becasue the business shared the word “profit” with the other business, both were located in Canberra and provided similar services. I called the ORS and the person I spoke to said that becasue of its size the ACT takes a “similar to” approach rather than “exact match”. In this situation I needed to think of a new name – still am actually!

Hope that helps

The Antichrist 6:58 pm 05 Sep 11

dvaey said :

Many years ago I worked for a company who had a business customer. After a payment was missed, we sought to contact the business and found not only were all the details they provided us fake, but the address they’d given ORS when they registered their business name was infact in our building, on level 3 (our building only had 2 levels).

So, its good to see the ACT ORS still nitpick where the apostrophe is in your name, but they probably wont verify your trading address.

hahaha nicely played !

I remember using the address Room 35 1st Floor Toad Hall ANU……a real lot back in the 80’s. NFI who lived at that address or even if it existed – but when I needed an address for some sort of…..reason…..that particular one worked a treat 🙂

Cameron 3:56 pm 05 Sep 11

Okay, some more definitive answers. So the legislation behind this both Territory and Commonwealth (unsurprising).

Section 9 of the Business Names Act 1963 (http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1963-12/current/pdf/1963-12.pdf) refers back to Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cwlth) (http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2011C00590/Html/Volume_6#_Toc294621624).

Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cwlth) sets out what conditions are taken into consideration.
The Business Names Act 1963 provides an avenue of appeal – an application to the Registrar General for the consent of the Minister (Attorney General) can be made. If the Minister gives consent, the name can be registered.

I’d suggest a formal response, outlining why you think the decision was in error (specifically referring back to the legislation will help) would be the best way to start. Then you can make enquiries about applying for the consent of the Minister.

Interestingly, Utopia and Utopian are considered the same under Corporations Regulations and the second one should not have been permitted. Go figure.

dvaey 3:13 pm 05 Sep 11

Many years ago I worked for a company who had a business customer. After a payment was missed, we sought to contact the business and found not only were all the details they provided us fake, but the address they’d given ORS when they registered their business name was infact in our building, on level 3 (our building only had 2 levels).

So, its good to see the ACT ORS still nitpick where the apostrophe is in your name, but they probably wont verify your trading address.

trickyxr 1:38 pm 05 Sep 11

Seems strange that you are having a hard time as a i ahve two friends who have had 2 business’s for years for some one else to register a very similar name, They both complained but were told that the name s are very different, Here they are

Utopia landscaping the other mob Utopian landscaping
Budget carpet care the other A Budget carpet care.

Now thats a joke

Cameron 1:25 pm 05 Sep 11

I once had a trading name for my company knocked back because there was a similarly named company trading in a totally different industry in another state.

I relodged my application with a piece of punctation added, and the application was successful.

You can register as a company with ASIC and so long as you trade under that name you’re good to go – however, it’s likely the name you want won’t be free there either. If you trade under a different name than your Pty Ltd (pretty common – a la Xyz Pty Ltd trading as XYZ’s Donuts) you have to go through ORS as well.

Starrie 12:51 pm 05 Sep 11

They are in the process of standardising business name registration between the states and territories to simply it for national businesses. So there will just be one fee, one registration process and so on to register a business name nationwide. This means, however, that they now ensure that your business name is able to be registered nationally when it does come online and hence they check other state’s registers for the name.

No point appealing. Pick another name.

damien haas 12:33 pm 05 Sep 11

Just register your *company* with ASIC. Ignore the ACT ORS. You shouldnt have any problems with ASIC.

p1 12:26 pm 05 Sep 11

Clown Killer said :

They certainly don’t like discussing their reasons for rejecting a name. Even asking for the criteria gets them on edge. I suspect that the people responsible are fairly low level and dont have the skill/ability/delegation to actually make a call on stuff like potential conflicts so they play a very conservative line.

It could be that the business in another state is a company rather than just a business name. If the other business was in say Adelaide and registered as Bill’s Photography and Bill was a sole trader simply registering his trading name for compliance purposes then technically there shouldn’t be an issue with you registering the same name in the ACT (but see my earlier comment). If it’s the same situation but the business is registered in NSW and their address is in Queanbeyan then you wont get a look in. If the guys in are anywhere in Australia and are called Bill’s Photography Pty Ltd then you don’t get a look in.

This is of course assuming that not just the name, but also the business itself is similar. Bill’s Photography Pty Ltd shouldn’t stop you registering Bill’s Carwash (although McDonald likes to try squashing anyone using that name on anything…).

But, like Metal said…

metal said :

why would you want to use a business name that is so similar to someone elses?

Clown Killer 11:52 am 05 Sep 11

They certainly don’t like discussing their reasons for rejecting a name. Even asking for the criteria gets them on edge. I suspect that the people responsible are fairly low level and dont have the skill/ability/delegation to actually make a call on stuff like potential conflicts so they play a very conservative line.

It could be that the business in another state is a company rather than just a business name. If the other business was in say Adelaide and registered as Bill’s Photography and Bill was a sole trader simply registering his trading name for compliance purposes then technically there shouldn’t be an issue with you registering the same name in the ACT (but see my earlier comment). If it’s the same situation but the business is registered in NSW and their address is in Queanbeyan then you wont get a look in. If the guys in are anywhere in Australia and are called Bill’s Photography Pty Ltd then you don’t get a look in.

metal 11:41 am 05 Sep 11

why would you want to use a business name that is so similar to someone elses?

from an article on here a week ago – Top 10 tips to get your business off to a flying start…

5. Choose the right company name. Make sure it’s memorable, professional, UNIQUE and fits your market.

http://the-riotact.com/top-ten-tips-to-help-businesses-get-off-to-a-flying-start/53541

Holden Caulfield 10:34 am 05 Sep 11

It could well be the other business has registered their name nationwide, rather than just their home state/territory.

Madman 10:32 am 05 Sep 11

You’re not allowed to open a Wooliworths…..

milkman 9:29 am 05 Sep 11

No possibility of appeal.

Try another name!

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