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VIC Using 'Institute' in a Business Name - Legal Under Commercial Law?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by jimtendo, 21 January 2016.

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  1. jimtendo

    jimtendo Member

    21 January 2016
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    Hi guys,

    First, apologies if this is the wrong forum for this. Wasn't really too sure where to put it.

    Curious as to what the legality of having a business name with the word "Institute" in it might be? For example, if I wanted to name my retail business "The Institute of Shoes", would this be legal? Or would this business then fall under a special classification.

    As another example, how about if some friends and I were compiling data on a subject like Global Warming and wanted to start a business named "Australian Institute of Global Warming" that printed and sold pamphlets. Assuming that it's not registered as a charity, would we still be able to operate as a normal business or would the word "Institute" place us under a special classification under Commercial Law?

    Before anyone asks, I have no intention of doing the above. I am just curious as the word Institute seems to convey a sense of authority.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    16 April 2014
    Likes Received:
    Hi jimtendo,

    At the time of registration, your proposed business name will be checked for any restricted words or expressions. If one has been identified, you will require Ministerial consent to register the name. For example, the name 'Online charity auctions' would require Ministerial consent because it contains the restricted word 'Charity'.

    You can read more about the guidelines and restricted words here:

    Words such as "corporation", "club", "society" or "institute" can be misleading and may therefore prevent registration of the above mentioned business name. If your application is rejected on these grounds you will be notified, or further information may be requested.

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