Did you know that registering a business, company or domain name does not give you any proprietary rights (i.e protection)? Only a trademark can provide that kind of protection.
If for example you register a business, company or domain name, you do not automatically have the right to use that name as a trademark.
The same word may be registered by different people as a business name in other states and territories. However, if you have a registered trademark, you can take legal action against others for infringing your trademark if the business name owner uses it for goods or services like those covered by your trade mark registration.
If you are unsure as to whether or not you should register a trademark, consideration should be give to the following:
|Type of name||What is it used for?||Do I need to register it?|
|Trademark||A trademark is used to identify a product or service in the market place and to distinguish it from other products and services. |
A registered trademark must specify the types (or classes) of goods and services in relation to which it is used.
|You don’t need to register it, but it is advisable that you do so. |
A registered trademark enjoys the protection of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), as well as the protection of the general law.
An unregistered trademark can be protected by the general law only, and is more and costly to prove.
|Business name||A business name is a name that is used to identify a business, opposed to a product or service. |
A business name is the name that the legal entity that owns the business will use to promote the business.
The legal entity that owns the business may be:
If one of these types of legal entities wants to call its business something other than its own name, it must register a business name.
If the legal entity that owns the business trades under its own name, a business name is not necessary.
It is possible to register a trademark that is the same as a business name, but their different registrations are to achieve different objectives:
The National Business Names Register is administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
|Company name||A company name is the name of the type of legal entity that will usually have the words ‘Pty Ltd’ at the end of its name. |
A company that wants to call its business something other than the company’s own name must register a business name.
A company does not need to register a business name if it uses its own name.
A company name identifies the legal entity that owns the business, as distinct from identifying its products and services.
A company name is registered when the company is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
|Domain name||A domain name is an internet address. Domain names let an internet user visit a specific website. |
As a part of a branding strategy, it is very common for a domain name to be the same, or similar to a trademark, a business name, or a company name, but these different registrations are to achieve different objectives:
If someone is improperly using your domain name, you may be able to prevent them from doing so.
There are a number of Australian domain name registries