How to Check Company Name Availability?

5 June, 2024 · 6 min read
Nikita Filippov

Learn how to check company name availability to ensure your business name is unique and compliant before registering your new company.

Choosing a company name is an important stage in starting a business as it expresses the brand identity and ensures legal protection.

But in the process of choosing a name, a few question arises:

  • How to choose a name for the company?
  • How to check company name availability?
  • And most importantly, what to do if that name is not available?

If this is your struggle, we have a solution for you!

Let’s dive in!

How to Check Company Name Availability?

Prior to May 2012, companies operating under the same name may coexist as long as they are registered in separate states and territories.

According to ASIC's national record, this is no longer feasible.

If a company name already exists, you won't be able to register it.

Follow these steps to check if your desired company name is available:

🔵Step 1: Visit ASIC site

🔵Step 2: Click on “Online services”

🔵Step 3: Choose “Search ASIC's registers”

🔵Step 4: Select “Companies”

🔵Step 5: Click on “Check name availability

🔵Step 6: Type the name you want in the search box

Remember that you should do this step before submitting a company registration application.

How To Check The Status Of Your Request?

After you visit the ASIC’s website, you will see there are 14 automated tests as part of this search.

The status of your request is color-coded:

         🟢 Green indicates that the business name is available for registration

         🟠 Amber indicates that an ASIC staff member must make a manual decision

         🔴 Red indicates that the business name is unavailable.

However, this search does not guarantee that you can register the desired name.

So what should you do if you don't want to register the company right away, but want to be sure that the name will be available when you decide to do it?

You should reserve it!

If the ASIC approves your application, they will reserve your name for two months.

If you want to prolong this period, you must apply to reserve the name again.

But try not to wait too long, because they won’t save your desired name forever as it may hinder others from lawfully using the name.

How to Reserve the Name?

Here are 3 easy steps to reserve the name with ASIC:

🔵Step 1: You need to fulfill the 410 Application for reservation of a name, also called form 410, and submit it online.

🔵Step 2: You will have to pay the fee of $59 for reserving the name of a new Australian company. Remember that you must cover the payment when submitting the form.

You can pay via cheque or money order.

🔵Step 3: You can send this form by post to the address provided by ASIC on their official website.


Before finalizing your business name, check for existing trademarks that might conflict.

ASIC's registration doesn't prevent legal action from similar trademark owners.

Use IP Australia's website and the TM Checker tool to ensure your name is clear.

What to Do If the Company Name You Want Is Taken?

If your company name is taken - you have to come up with another one. But how to choose the right company name?

Besides originality, there are several important guidelines to follow:

🔵Use appropriate characters - Most characters are allowed, but some are not. Check if your chosen name contains any characters that are not on the allowed list.

🔵Show its legal status in the name - A company must indicate the liability of its members and its status in its name. For instance:

  • If the members' liability is limited to the amount unpaid on their shares, the company name must end with 'Proprietary Limited.'
  • If the liability of the company's members is unlimited, the company's name must conclude with 'Proprietary.'

🔵Use approved abbreviations - You can abbreviate, but make sure to use only the permitted abbreviations from the official list. 👇

🔵Pay attention to restricted words and phrases - Avoid using words that could create a misleading impression of the company's activities. Additionally, remember that certain phrases and words require permission from the government minister before use.

Some of them are:

  • “Building society”
  • “Trust”
  • “University”
  • “Chamber of commerce”
  • Bank
  • “Trust”
  • “Royal”
  • “Incorporated”


Some brand experts believe that there are six, seven, or even ten different sorts of brand names. 

Whichever you choose, make sure it reflects your brand’s personality, it is not already trademarked, and make sure it resonates with your target audience.

Here’s a concise guide to help you start:

  • Acronym Names: Keep it brief and memorable (e.g., CBA, CSL).
  • Invented Names: Stand out with a unique name (e.g., Seek, Canva).
  • Evocative Names: Create a strong image (e.g., Blackmores, Greenstone).
  • Descriptive Names: Be clear and direct (e.g., Flight Centre, Officeworks).
  • Lexical Names: Get creative and playful (e.g., Bakers Delight, Grill’d).
  • Founder Names: Add a personal touch (e.g., JB Hi-Fi, Michael Hill).
  • Geographical Names: Highlight your roots (e.g., Sydney Airport, Yarra Valley Dairy).

How to Protect Your Company Name?

As we mentioned before, it is crucial to be aware of registered trademarks to avoid potential legal actions against your company.

So, what do you think, how do trademarks work?

They are created to protect your intellectual property, including brand names, enabling companies to build and maintain a distinct identity in the marketplace.

Securing a trademark protects your brand and prevents others from adopting identical names that may cause confusion.

A trademark is protected in all Australian states and territories for the first ten years.

Here are important things to remember about it.

You can:

  • Renew the trademark after a 10-year period, but you will need to pay a fee.
  • Renew your trademark registration either 12 months before the renewal date or within 6 months after it.
  • Be charged a late fee if you renew it after the deadline.

Is It Possible to Change a Company Name?

Yes, it is!

If you want to change the name of your company, just follow the next steps:

🔵Step 1: Choose a new name and make sure to check if it is available.

🔵Step 2: Pass special resolution—To change its name, a company's members must meet and pass a special resolution. Unlisted company must give their members at least 21 days' notice of the meeting, and listed firms must give at least 28 days' notice. 

🔵Step 3: Submit a 205 form - After you pass a special resolution, you need to submit Form 205 - Notification of a resolution (along with a copy of the passed special resolution).

You have to pay the required fee of $474 and ensure this form is lodged within 14 days of passing the resolution to avoid any late fees.

What Are Your Next Steps?

If the name change is approved, ASIC will send a certificate of registration to your online services inbox (if you submitted Form 205 online) or mail it to the company's registered office address.

If the name change is rejected, they will notify you with an explanation.

After that, you can then either apply the lodgement fee to another Form 205 or request a refund.


Although this step may seem minor, it is crucial because you cannot open a company without a valid name.

Knowing how to check company name availability and how to create a new one if the original is unavailable can ease the entire process of establishing a company.

But what if you could handle everything for your company in one place, from checking the name to registering the company and setting up a business account?

We have the perfect solution for you: ANNA.

ANNA One: A Quick and Reliable Alternative

ANNA is an innovative tax management and business account solution.

First, with this tool, you can check company name availability more easily.

How to do that?

Simply enter the name you want to use and click on “Check availability” 👇

What else can you do with ANNA?

▶️Effortlessly set up your company with our easy registration process.

▶️Store all your receipts, invoices, and company documents in one convenient location. Our system matches transactions, extracts key details, and ensures everything is easy to find and share.

▶️Enjoy peace of mind with up-to-date tax reporting and optimized tax bills, calculated automatically.

▶️Gain a clear understanding of your upcoming tax bill based on your business expenses and income. Our tool provides a predictable view, empowering you to effectively plan your budget.

▶️Get timely reminders for all your tax obligations and never miss a tax deadline again.

▶️Benefit from automatic GST calculation and direct reporting to the ATO.

▶️Create invoices in seconds, and let us automatically follow up on any unpaid invoices on your behalf.

▶️Keep your bookkeeping in order with easy tips and track your progress with our Bookkeeping Score.

▶️Automatically match and categorize expenses to ensure you receive the appropriate tax relief.

If you let us take care of all these time-consuming and challenging tasks, you can focus on more important aspects of your company: to grow it and make it better!

Sign up and experience this business tool today!


How Much Would It Cost to Reserve a Name to Prevent a Competitor Registering It First?

The reservation of a name costs $59.

How Long Can You Reserve a Name in Australia?

If ASIC approves your application, the reservation lasts 2 months.

After that period, you have to apply again.

How Do I Know If I Can Name the Company?

To determine if you can name your company in Australia, you need to follow the guidelines provided by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Ensure that your proposed name doesn’t include any restricted words or phrases unless you have obtained the necessary approvals.

Make sure it is available and shows legal status in its name.

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