An examination of the interaction between names registered under legislation regulating companies, business names and associations and proposals for nationwide co-ordination.
AbstractRegistration of company, business and association names by the state and territory Corporate Affairs Commissions/Offices as delegates of the National Companies and Securities Commission (hereafter 'Commission') has traditionally been effected in accordance with appropriate companies, business names or associations incorporation legislation or in accordance with the relevant Prohibited Names Direction issued thereunder.5 This legislation and these Directions, however, do not always direct attention to prior usage of a name, claims to better entitlement to a name, existing registration in any other state or territory or to Commonwealth designs, patents or trade marks registration. This paper calls for co-ordination of names law and practice, and for reforms to ensure that such co-ordination is operational on a nationwide basis in view of the national, or increasingly national, reach of business in Australia. The paper appreciates that current private enforcement of names' rights is by means of the Trade Practices Act, and does not advocate replacement of this private enforcement except insofar as cross-referencing of names at the point of reservation/registration would alleviate later confusions. Further deregulation of names may well be the answer — as proposed by the New South Wales Corporate Affairs Commission6 — but in the context of a satisfactory threshhold for reservation and registration.
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