Reforms to the current State based business name registration
systems, which were originally announced in 2010, appear to be
finally coming to fruition with the announcement that the National
Business Name Registration Service is due to commence on 28 May
2012. While this date is still subject to the passage of relevant
legislation through the respective State and Territory parliaments
it does suggest that the new national system is close to becoming a
reality. Accordingly, franchisors need to start considering what
this will mean for them.
The National Business Name Registration Service will make
registering business names considerably easier than the current
regime, which requires registration of a business name in each
individual State and Territory in which it is used. The new service
will allow parties to register a business name with one central,
national body. The registration will then apply throughout
Australia. This will minimise the administrative burden of juggling
multiple registrations and may also be cheaper.
In addition, the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission (which will oversee the new service) has indicated that
business name owners with more than one registered business name
will be able to align the renewal dates for those business names,
in order to further reduce the administrative burden of dealing
with business names.
While the new service heralds a step forward from an
administrative and cost perspective, franchisors need to consider
how the new system will impact them. For instance, given that
business names will now be dealt with at a national level
franchisors should ensure that no two franchisees are permitted to
use the same business name. Franchisors should also consider how
they intend to deal with the new service, given that the service
will predominantly be an online service. While this will expedite
registrations, franchisors need to consider whether they will
attend to each registration or whether they will permit their
franchisees to undertake registrations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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This Alert addresses contracts formed through electronic means and the legal issues surrounding electronic signatures.
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