When you start a business, if you’re trading under a name that is not your own you need to register it to run your business in Australia. Business names or companies are registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
Before choosing your business name or company, you should check it’s available through ASIC’s registers and not already a registered trade mark with IP Australia.
It’s important to register your business name or company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to run your business in Australia. However, it does not give you the trading rights or ownership over that name. You need to file a trade mark for this.
Trade marks are issued by IP Australia. A trade mark protects your brand by giving you the exclusive right to legally enforce it if another business uses it.
Domain names are issued by private internet companies and registered by the .au Domain Administration to secure the web URL only.
A business or company names can be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
To protect and own the exclusive rights to that name you need to file for a registered trade mark with IP Australia.
A common misconception
Bec started a web-based business called SourceBottle to connect journalists with potential sources. She registered her company with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and found a hosting site to purchase the ‘.com.au’ domain name. She thought that would be enough. But she soon realised that without a trade mark, she wouldn’t be protected from someone else wanting to use the same name.
She quickly registered SourceBottle® using a trade mark attorney. This proved fortunate as she soon discovered a martial art studio already owned the ‘.com’ URL. Luckily for Bec they had not sought trade mark protection and she successfully purchased the domain from them.