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If you have a particular name in mind, and it's available, then you may want to secure this name before registering the company (particularly if there may be some delay before the company is registered).

You can check the National Names Index to see if that name is already taken. This is a free company name search available on the ASIC website here. Alternatively, you can check if the name is available when completing our online form, which links directly into ASIC's servers.

ASIC will reserve a name only if it is available. A name is available unless the name is:

  1. identical to a name that is reserved or registered under the Corporations Act for another body; or
  2. identical to a name that is included on the national business names register in respect of another individual or body who is not the person applying to have the name; or
  3. unacceptable for registration under the regulations - for example, if it is restricted (like "ANZAC") or inappropriate.

Although a name may be available, a company or a person with a similar name may bring a claim of unfair competition or 'passing off' against your company. You should seek advice as to how to protect against this possibility.

You will need to lodge an ASIC form 410 with ASIC. ABNAustralia.com.au offers a product to reserve a company name, just select this service option from the main menu.

The initial reservation period is 2 months. Each subsequent renewal is also for 2 months. However, ASIC advises that only under exceptional circumstances will more than two extensions be granted.

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