With customers bombarded with online information 24/7, protecting your business name is vital for success.
A vital step to do this is to make sure you select a business name that you can own and that you protect that name through registering it.
Business names are registered nationally in Australia through the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Prior to registering the name you can search to make sure to ensure the name is available and not too similar to another business. It’s a good idea to do this process in tandem with obtaining the domain name that would suit your business name.
If you think you can register the name, you can then move onto registration, if it is not too similar to another name already registered, they are able to register it.
But what happens when the boot is on the other foot? What if another business uses or registers a name similar to yours? There is a dispute mechanism through ASIC which can solve such problems but in order to provide yourself with the most protection from someone having a similar business name to you, the business name/logo should be trademarked.
However, registering a trademark can be complex and you need to be able to establish uniqueness in what you are trying to protect.
However, even if you have trademarked your business, there are also a number of defences to alleged breaches of trademark. The most significant of these defences is if the business alleged to have breached trademark is using their own name for trading. For example, if you run John Smith Tyres and register the name John Smith Tyres and another person with the same name as you starts a mechanics business, it may not be a breach of trademark if John Smith is using his own name to carry on his business.
So, what to do? Establishing a business is a significant investment. As part of that investment you should carefully consider how you protect what you are establishing. Specific legal advice for your situation which weighs up what is best for you is an essential part of managing your business. OFRM’s business lawyers can assist you evaluating what is best for you and your business. Call 03 5445 1000.