So you have decided to set up a new business, and you have registered a business name with ASIC. You have got the website up and running, even printed up yourself some fancy business cards. You would think that by registering a business name, that would stop anyone else coming along and using that name right? Unfortunately, that is not the case.
A trademark and a business name have different purposes, and will protect your business in different ways.
So What Are The Differences Between a Business Name Registration and a Trademark?
A business name is used to identify your business. Registering your business name does not give you full rights over that name. Only a trademark can give you full rights and can legally stop others from trading with that name.
A business name is the name under which business operates and is connected to your Australian Business Number (ABN). It is a legal requirement to register a business name if you are trading under a name that is different to the name of the legal entity that owns the business.
A business name does not give you legal rights to that name. This means that if someone else uses your business name for their business, you do not have any rights to stop them.
Your trademark, often called a brand, is your identity. It’s the way your show your customers who you are.
It might be your corporate logo, signage, packaging or even your business name painted on the side of a truck.
A trademark legally protects your name and stops others from trading with it. When you register a trademark, you get exclusive use of that trademark throughout Australia.
A trademark is protected in all Australian states and territories for an initial period of 10 years.
Being an Australian trademark owner makes it easier to apply for a trademark in other countries.
If you need exclusive use of your business name, you should register it as a trademark.
In summary, if you are trading under a different name to your own, you legally need to register a business name. However to ensure you have complete protection over the ownership and use of that name, you should also register the name as a trademark.
DLA Partners can assist you with your Trademark registration. Please contact us for further information.
This information does not constitute financial or legal advice and is for general information purposes only. Please contact DLA Partners for specific advice relating to your particular circumstances.