Choosing a business name or company to build a brand presence is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting your own business. However, a common misconception is that registering your business name or purchasing a domain name is the same as a trade mark. It’s not!

We’ve collaborated with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and to help you understand the differences.

Understand what you need to start your business provides all government information, assistance, forms and services you need to start and run your business in Australia. Before choosing a business name you should have an understanding of:

Business names and companies

To start and run your business in Australia, if you’re trading under a name that is not your own, you need to register the business name or company you wish to trade under. These are registered with ASIC and it’s important to know that while they’re required to run a business for administration purposes, they don’t stop others from using the same or similar name.

Before you register your trading name, you should search existing names using ASIC Connect and registered trade marks with Australian Trade Mark Search to avoid infringing on someone else’s.

You can read the transcript for this video.

Protecting your brand with a trade mark

We issue trade marks to give you the exclusive rights to that mark. Understanding the basics of trade marks and its value as a marketing tool is important. It allows you to take legal action to prevent others from using it. If you’re confident that you have 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.

You can read the transcript for this video.

Domain names and social media

Domain names are issued by private internet companies and registered by the .au Domain Administration who provides a list of accredited registrars. The purpose of a domain name is to secure the web url only.

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 usernames.

You can read the transcript for this video.

Avoiding a costly mistake

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

You can read the transcript for this video.

More information

31 October 2017