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Tribunal: Member I Hanger

The Business Names Register is the responsibility of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).[1] ASIC determines whether a business name is acceptable for registration through a computerised algorithm. This algorithm applies rigid rules for determining if the name is identical, or nearly identical, to other registered names. The AAT had to determine if there was discretion for a human decision maker to intervene and apply common sense principles to whether the proposed business name is identical to another.

In this case, the applicant lodged two proposed business names with ASIC’s online lodgement service. ASIC refused to register both names on the grounds that they were both considered to be identical or nearly identical to other registered names.[2] The applicant sought to register the business names “Deco” and “Deco Australia”. ASIC refused to register the proposed business name “Deco” on the basis that the name was identical or nearly identical to the name of a registered company “De.Co Pty Ltd”. It also refused to register the proposed business name “Deco Australia” on the basis that the name is identical or nearly identical to the registered business name “Aus Deco”.

The AAT commented that the rigid and prescriptive provisions of the Act are clear and consistent with the intention of establishing an automatic system of registration. This allows for a simplified and unified registration of business names. It follows that the decision making process will be rigid and prescriptive. The AAT affirmed ASIC’s decision.

Read the full decision on AustLII.


[1] Business Names Registration Act 2011

[2] Section 25 of the Business Name Registration Act 2011