Does my business name protect my trade mark rights?

  • Blog
  • Does my business name protect my trade mark rights?
View All Articles

Scroll for more

No. Your business name will not protect your trade mark rights.

If you have started a new business, one of your first steps may have been to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You need to register with ASIC if you are trading under a name that is not your own.

ASIC will only approve business names that are unique or not too similar to other registered business names.

However, registering a business name does not protect your rights to that name or word. While it does prevent someone else from registering the exact same name with ASIC, it does not stop a competitor from selling products or services under your business name.

Additionally, if someone has a trade mark already registered with that word in a same or similar category, they may be able to prevent you from trading under that name.

If you want exclusive rights to your business name, you need to protect it with a trade mark alongside your ASIC business name registration.

A trade mark is a way of identifying a unique product or service by using a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or a combination of these. Business names will most commonly be a word, phrase, or logo.

A trade mark gives you exclusive rights to use that name throughout Australia for an initial period of 10 years. The trade mark will help you protect your name and stop others from using it. 

Most trade marks are narrowed in scope to the area of services or goods that are linked to the entity. For example, ‘Apple’ has a registered trade mark for computers and phones, but there are many apple brands that use the word ‘apple’ to describe the type of fruit they are. That may be allowable if there is a distinct difference between the products and consumers will not be mixed up by the brands.

Dove Soap and Dove Chocolate is another commonly used example of two distinct brands with the same name because their products are identifiably different. 

Before you choose a business name, you should check with IP Australia to ensure that your name is not already registered by someone else in the same industry. If you use someone else’s trade mark, they may have rights to prevent you from using the same name. All your money and time spent creating a brand could be wasted if you do not do due diligence from the beginning.

When you start planning your new business, we recommend searching names on ASIC and IP Australia to ensure your brand will be distinct and unique. Your product might be the next ‘Apple’ and you will want to protect those naming rights from the beginning so you can protect your brand as it grows.

If you are thinking about starting a business or want to take steps to protect your current business, contact our team today. Protecting your brand is an important step to protect your reputation and legacy in the future.

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


Prefer to get in touch?

With offices in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, North Queensland and Sydney, our team is well equipped to provide both advice and support across a broad range of legal areas.

Free call 1800 640 509
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.