Have the perfect name for your company, but not sure if it already exists or if you can even use it? Knowing this early on can save you a lot of trouble – here’s how to do it.

Checking the availability of your proposed company name is essential when registering your company. This guide will show you how to check the availability of your desired company name and provide hints to ensure your name is registrable.

Company Name Considerations

Before you choose and commit to your company name, it is important to ensure that it will be accepted by ASIC. If you don’t, your company name may be rejected.

Identical and existing names

Your proposed name cannot be identical to an existing business or company name. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, for example, if the company with the identical name is a proposed member of the new company.

This rule applies nationally. Since May 2012, you cannot register a company name if it is identical to a registered business name in another Australian State or Territory.

Characters

You can only register your company name if it contains certain characters. You can see the full list of acceptable characters on the ASIC Website.

For example, characters 0 – 9 and A – Z are acceptable. There are also some symbols which are acceptable, such as exclamation marks and parenthesis. However, others such as question marks are not.

Restricted terms

There are some terms which you cannot include in your company name. Two of these include the words ‘Bank’ and ‘Royal. The reason that these words are not eligible is that they may mislead consumers as to the company’s activities. ASIC can also refuse registration if it believes that the term is offensive or it suggests illegal activity. For a full list of the restricted terms ASIC will reject, check out ASIC’s Restrict Terms

The company name must show its legal status

Your company’s name must include its legal status. For example, If you are registering a company with a limited liability structure the company name must include ‘Limited Liability’.

Example

Amanda wants to name her new consulting company ‘Clever Consulting.’ However, ASIC will not accept this name unless it shows its legal status. As Amanda’s business is going to be a proprietary limited company, it will officially be named ‘Clever Consulting Pty Ltd‘.

Reservation

It is possible to reserve your company name if you do not wish to register it at the moment, subject to ASIC approval. If approved, the ASIC will reserve the name for two months.

How to check if my company name is available

You have just selected that name that you believe fits the vision and aims of your business. The next step in the process is to make sure that your selected company name is available for registration.

This is an essential process since you cannot register a name that is identical or similar to an existing name. It is also important to note that some terms are restricted from being registered. Checking the availability of your proposed company name can be done through the following resources:

Our Company Namecheck

LawPath offers the Lawpath Company Namecheck which is linked to ASIC which allows you to check your proposed company name.If the name you intend to register is available you can continue with your application using LawPath’s company registration.

ASIC Connect Name Availability Search

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission provide the ASIC Connect Name Availability Search that will show if your intended company name is available for registration.

Next Steps

Once you have selected an appropriate name and your proposed company name is available it’s time to register a company. LawPath offers an online company registration that is quick and easy. We also have a range of bundles and additional services to help protect your new company from the get go.

Don’t know where to start? Contact a Lawpath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Zachary Swan

Zac is currently Head of Content at LawPath, Australia’s largest and fastest growing online legal platform. Since joining LawPath, Zac has assisted 1000s of startups and small business’ with their legal needs.