You have likely seen the abbreviation CO at the end of some business names and might be wondering whether it’s fine to use at the end of your business name. 

The short answer is yes. 

CO is simply short for company. Therefore, if you are setting up a company and like the idea of adding CO to the end of your business name, it’s likely fine to do so. 

What Is A Business Name?

A business name is the name your business or company trades under. This is the name the public recognises and is likely to be on all your signs, posters, website, emails and other forms of communication or marketing. 

It’s essentially the name your business is identified with. 

You might be thinking, “this is pretty self explanatory”.  However, people often get confused between a business name and a company name. A company name is different from a business name and must be registered separately unless you meet one of the exceptions. 

Keep reading to know more. 

Do I Need To Register My Business Name?

Yes, business names do need to be registered. There are only three exceptions to registering a business name and they apply when: 

  • You are a sole trader operating under your own name
  • Your business is a partnership and all the partners are using their own names as the business name
  • You have a registered company name and the business name is identical to the company name 

If you don’t meet one of these exceptions, then you will need to get your business name registered. 

If you need help, reach out to us today to get your business name registered

Can I Use Co In My Business Name In Australia?

Yes, just be mindful that it implies that your business is a company (although it doesn’t recognise a legal status). Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine for you to use the abbreviation of CO in your business name. 

There are a number of other abbreviations businesses like to use at the end of their names such as .NET or even characters and numbers. The possibilities are huge – just make sure you are not setting your eyes on a name that is likely to be rejected due to being inappropriate. 

You can learn more about restricted words and expressions here

Can I Check If A Business Name Is Available?

Yes, you can check to see if a business name is available before you make a move to get it registered. It’s pretty disappointing to have your heart set on a name only to find out it’s already been taken! 

In order to avoid this, look up the name you have in mind on the Business Name Check to see if it is available.  

Protecting A Business Name

Keep in mind that registering a business name doesn’t make that name legally yours. If you want to own your business name and get it legally protected, you will need to register it as a trade mark

Getting a business name registered as a trade mark is a completely separate process that must be done with IP Australia. It involves a pretty comprehensive application which, once approved, puts your trade mark up for opposition. 

During this period, someone can come forward to protest your trademark being registered. If this happens, you will be required to submit evidence in defence. We’ve written more about what goes down in a trade mark opposition if you ever find yourself in this situation. 

It’s always handy to have a legal expert present when getting a trade mark registered to make sure it all goes well! 

Key Takeaways

It should be fine for you to use CO in your business name. However, when registering your business name, it’s important to be mindful of your legal obligations. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Co is an abbreviation for the word company and can be used at the end of a business name
  • A business name is the name a business trades under and is publicly known for
  • Yes, a business name must be registered unless it meets one of the exceptions
  • You can check online to see if a business name is available before registering it
  • If you are looking to protect your business name legally, then consider getting it trademarked 

If you would like a consultation on using CO in your business name, or other legal obligations you might have regarding the business set up process, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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