It is a common misconception that registering your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) will protect your Businesses intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This article will explain the differences between registering a business name and registering a trademark so that you can fully understand what steps need to be taken to protect your businesses name and brand.
Registered Business Name
In Australia, you are required to register your business name with ASIC if you or your entity is trading under a name that is different from your personal name (if you are a sole trader) or the name of your corporate entity.
Once your business name is registered with ASIC no other individual or entity in Australia can register the same name as you. However, this does not stop another individual or entity from:
- registering a name that is substantially similar to your name;
- trading under a business name that is substantially similar to your name; or
- registering your business name as a trademark.
This is what differentiates the registration of a business name from the registration of a trademark. The latter can prevent each of the above occurrences.
The registration of a trademark secures the exclusive right to use that trademark in Australia. A trademark can consist of many different elements including words, images, logos and colours.
The registration of a trademark is administered through IP Australia. Once your business name and/or logo is registered as a trademark, no other person or entity can use your trademark without your permission for a minimum period of 10 years.
If you do not register your business name or logo as a trademark, you run the risk that another individual or entity will use a business name or logo which is the same or substantially similar. This may have serious consequences for your business and could negatively impact the reputation and brand that you have worked so hard to build.
Anyone can apply to register a trademark. This means that your businesses name could be registered as a trademark by a competitor. If that was to occur, you may lose the right to use your own business name or logo. However, if such an application was brought, there may be grounds upon which you could oppose the application. It is imperative to seek legal advice should this occur.
The protection of your businesses name and logo is extremely important to ensure the success of your business. The registration of your business name with ASIC is not sufficient protection.
If you would like any further information on business names or registering a trademark, please contact one of our experienced solicitors on (07) 3186 8669 or click on the “Book a Consultation” button on our website to book in a free 15 minute consultation with one or our experienced solicitors so that we can discuss the best way to protect your businesses future.