Protecting Your Brand Is Protecting Your Business

A common misconception is that if you register a company or business name, that you own that name. Registration of a trade mark is the key to protecting your brand and business.

Here is a brief summary of the key differences between registering a trade mark, business, company and domain name.

Business name

Registration of a business name is simply a legal requirement in each state or territory in Australia under which your business operates. It does not stop someone else from registering a business name or incorporating a company under a name which is similar (but not identical) to your business name or company name. Business names also do not provide legal ownership for the use of the name (unlike trade marks).

Company name

Registration of a company name is done through Australian Securities Investments Commission (ASIC). As with business names, company names do not necessarily provide legal rights for the use of the name (unlike trade marks).

Domain name

This is simply an internet address which provides a quick way of finding and connecting to a website. As with business names and company names, domain names only give a license to use the domain name and do not necessarily provide legal rights for the use of the name (unlike trade marks).

You should identify those countries in which you are trading or intending to trade, and seek to secure registration of the appropriate domain names and trade marks in those countries.

Trade Marks

A trade mark is a distinctive mark used to distinguish your goods or services from other traders. It is possible to register a trade mark for distinctive words, images, symbols, logos, shapes, colours, sounds or scents. Registration of a trade mark gives the registered owner the exclusive rights of the trade mark in relation to the registered goods and services, throughout Australia.

What does a registered trade mark mean to your business and your brand?

Registering a trade mark gives your business legal ownership of the name or logo in relation to those classes of goods and/or services for which you register the mark. This means that you have a statutory right to prevent other people from using a mark that is substantially identical or deceptively similar to your trade mark, in relation to those goods or services.

A trade mark is registered for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely (subject to proof of use of the registered trade mark).

Registering a trade mark is a quick, easy and a relatively inexpensive process to protect your brand and business. A registered trade mark also has the potential to increase the value of your business.