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Is my business name too similar to another? Updates to Business Name Laws

You have found the perfect name for your business, and then part way through registering, you are told the name is unavailable.  But you checked, no-one else had the exact same name.  In July 2015 the rules for deciding whether a name is identical, or nearly identical to another were expanded.  When considering whether a name is similar, the type of entity that you hold is not considered.  This means that trying to differentiate your name by using ‘inc’ ‘ltd’ ‘limited’ ‘pty’ at the end will not work.  Neither will changing your name to a singular or plural.  “Base Legal” and “Base Legals” will be considered the same.  Changing the size or CASE of letters or words or trying to use punctuation and accents to differentiate your name will not be enough.  Nor will changing the order of the words in your name.  Inserting a clever little space won’t save you either.  When registering a business name a “word” will ignore spaces (eg. b a s e or ba   se); abbreviations and acronyms are also ‘words’.  Hmmm, I see the wheels turning…so what about using numbers or symbols?  Nope. Won’t work.  If your name is pronounced the same as another it won’t matter how it looks in writing.  Kre8tive is creative.  50% is fifty percent.  $ Deals is Dollar Deals.  The list goes on and can be found in Schedule 1 of the Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2015.  I am sure Google will help you find it if you want more information.  But here are some examples taken from that list so you get the drift of how words and expressions will be taken to be the same:

– nails, nailz

– bakehouse, bakery

– art gallery, gallery

– bricklayers, bricklaying

– dog grooming, pet grooming

– catering, catering services

– holiday apartments, holiday units

– perfumes, scents….

In short, if you find yourself trying to come up with ways to make your name slightly different to another, then it is likely you are on the path to rejection.  Unfortunately it will be back to the drawing board my friends.

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