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There are a few things you should consider when choosing a company name. You cannot register a name that is identical to an existing name and some terms are restricted.

You can only use a name that is not identical to an existing company or business. Use our check name availability search to see if the name you want is available. I foy uown an identical name, you may be able to register the name for the company in some cases.

The following characters are accepted:

CharactersCharactersCharactersCharactersCharacters
0-9()_!|
A-Z${}-\
a-z%space:=
@*.;?
#&,'/

Some words and phrases cannot be used without the approval of a government minister. Some examples include:

  • 'building society'
  • 'trust'
  • 'university'
  • 'chamber of commerce'

You can't use words that could mislead people about a company's activities. This includes associations with Australian government, the Royal Family, or any ex-servicemen's organisations. ASIC may also refuse a name if it's considered offensive or suggests illegal activity.

The following are examples of restricted terms. You must seek additional approval before you can use them in a company name:

  • Bank, Banker, Banking, ADI, credit society, credit union, etc.
  • Friendly Society
  • GST
  • Guarantee
  • Incorporated
  • Made in Australia
  • Police, policing
  • Royal
  • RSL
  • Sir Donald Bradman
  • Starr Bowkett
  • Stock Exchange
  • Trust or trustee

If you aren't ready to register your company but want to make sure a name is available, you can apply to reserve it. If ASIC approves your application, they will reserve the name for two months. If you wish to extend this period, you'll need to apply to reserve the name again.

Even if ASIC reserve or register a name for you, a company with a similar name or trade mark can take action against you. Registering a company name does not protect you against third party claims for trade mark infringement. It is your responsibility to be aware of any similar names or trade marks that may affect your name. ABNAustralia.com.au provides trademark registration and search services and can assist you in this manner.

A company must show the liability of its members and status in its name. For example if a company's members' liability is limited to the amount unpaid on their shares, the name must end with 'Proprietary Limited'. if the members' liability is unlimited, the company name must end with 'Proprietary'.

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