November 9, 2017

Did you know that registering your business or purchasing a domain name is not the same as trade marking it?

Build your business, protect your brand

It’s a common misconception that registering your business or purchasing a domain name is the same as a trade mark. It’s not!

To make things a little clearer, we’ve collaborated with IP Australia and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to help you build your business and protect your brand.

Trading under a name other than your own

When you’re trading under a name that is not your own, you must register it as a business or company name with ASIC.

You can search for existing business names and apply for your own business name using ASIC Connect. However, registering a business name does not give you the exclusive rights to use that name or any part of the name and it won’t stop others from using a similar name.

Domain names

Domain names are issued by private internet companies and registered by the .au Domain Administration. The purpose of a domain name is to secure the web address (URL) only—a domain name does not protect the name legally.

Tip: It’s also a good idea to check the social media channels you plan to use for your business, such as Twitter handles and Facebook user names, and ensure they’re available so you can be consistent!

Trade marks

Trade marks are administered by IP Australia and are a valuable marketing tool. If you’re confident that you’ve chosen a business or company name that is not already taken or protected, registering it as a trade mark will give you exclusive rights to use, licence, or sell the mark.

What to do:

Now that you know there are different processes involved to register your business name or company name, domain name and trade mark, you’re in a better position to build your business and protect your brand! You’ll also avoid the mistake of infringing on someone else’s trade mark, which could lead to legal costs or having to rebrand and start your business marketing from scratch.

  • Visit the ASIC website to understand registering, renewing or transferring business names and companies.
  • Learn more about trade marks and protecting your business identity.
  • Download IP Australia’s infographic for the steps to consider to build your business, protect your brand (PDF 278KB).
  • Keep an eye out on IP Australia’s events page for upcoming trade mark workshops and webinars.

Original Article: has a wealth of information for small business owners
© Commonwealth of Australia 2016 – Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

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