Exactly what do regulators have the power to use to knock back a proposed business name? The recent “Eggslut” example piqued the interest of many Australians on this subject.
As previously reported, a Brisbane café had its proposal knocked back, because the desired name “Eggslut” – intended to be a play on words as both someone who craves eggs and also an abbreviation of “eggs Lutwyche”, after the suburb in which the café operates – was deemed to be offensive.
According to ASIC, the majority of requested business names are approved by the regulator. However, there are three main reasons why a proposed business name gets refused.
A spokesperson for ASIC told My Business: “Generally, proposed names may be registered unless:
- The name is identical or nearly identical to a name already registered to another entity or the name of a government body
- The name includes restricted words or phrases, which are specified in rules set out in the Business Names Registration (Availability of Names) Determination 2015 (the Determination)
- The name is of a kind that is undesirable in accordance with the rules specified in the Determination. The rules specify that a business name is undesirable if, in the opinion of ASIC, it is likely to be offensive to members of the public or members of a section of the public; if it suggests a connection with the Crown or government bodies or it suggests a connection to specified other persons or organisations and such connections do not exist.”
Asked how many business names it has actually denied, the spokesperson responded by saying that “ASIC is limited by confidentiality provisions in the act about the information that can be disclosed about business names matters”.
“We can disclose that ASIC has responded to three applications to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal) relating to decisions about the registration or refusal to register business names and whether those names were of a kind that is undesirable because the names are likely to be offensive,” they said.
More information on the rules governing business name registrations, including availability, are available on ASIC’s website.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.