When registering a business, the main purpose is “to establish a public register of information about the business and the proprietor.”(Office of Consumers and Business Affairs, 2009a) Additionally, business names create an identity for the business, in terms of distinguishing the goods and services from the competitors, and accordingly the protection of these names are at best when they are registered. (Department of Trade and Economic Development, 2009) This paper provides a brief overview of the process of registering a business name for a newly established business, according to the requirements and guidelines of the government of South Australia.
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Before proceeding with the steps of registering business names, there are several guidelines and conditions that should be met. It should be mentioned that, if the business carries a name of the owner, without addition, there is no need for registration. The addition of any words to the name, for example John Brown International, requires that this name should be registered. In terms of the requirements of the names themselves, the next points should be followed (Office of Consumers and Business Affairs, 2009a):
- The name should be dissimilar from those of existing businesses.
- The name should not mislead to the true nature of the business.
- If advertising using a name, the registration is required.
- The proposed name should not infringe any trade marks.
- Internet domain names cannot be registered as business names, unless the business conducted is under the same name.
The administration of business names in South Australia is conducted by the Office of Consumer and Business affairs (OCBA). (Department of Trade and Economic Development, 2009) The OCBA outlined the following steps for registering a business name:
- Choosing a name – The guidelines and conditions should be followed, paying attention that the name chosen might not be available and thus it is recommended to consider three names to choose from. (Office of Consumers and Business Affairs, 2009c)
- Search the register names – This step can be taken for reference or in order to ensure that the selected business name does not infringe any Trade Mark. The search can be conducted on the National Names Index for names registered, and IP Australia for Trade Marks.
- Compete an application form – The application form that should be completed can be downloaded for the official OCBA website, where it must be filled out, and lodged including a registration fee. The registration fee is taken for registration and renewal and might include additional lateness payment if the application lodged later than two months before the date of commencement of trading. (Office of Consumers and Business Affairs, 2009b) It should be noted that additional forms might be required to fill out, in case there are additional details required such as the existence of an existing franchise, in which the applied business name is a part of, the change of the business name details required, or other.
- Lodge the Application Form – The completed application and the fee, should be lodged by one of the following methods:
- In person, at the front counter on Level 3, Chesser House, 91-97 Grenfell St, Adelaide SA 5000.
- By Mail, addressed to Corporate Affairs and Compliance Branch, GPO Box 1407, Adelaide SA 5001.
- By fax, addressed to Corporate Affairs and Compliance Branch on fax number (08) 8204 9771.
- Online, through the link. Web.
The business name should be renewed every three years from the date of registration, and in the case the business name is to be cancelled, an appropriate form should be filled out and signed by all proprietors.
DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2009) Business Names, Company Names, Domain Names &Trademarks. Biz Facts. Web.
OFFICE OF CONSUMERS AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS (2009a) Business Names: Overview. Government of South Australia. Web.
OFFICE OF CONSUMERS AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS (2009b) Fees for business names. Government of South Australia. Web.
OFFICE OF CONSUMERS AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS (2009c) Registering a business name. Government of South Australia. Web.