Woman using laptop computer to register a trademark for her business name

Why you should also trademark your business name

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. Registering a business name is crucial for establishing a company, but it is equally important to register your brand as a trademark for protection. Check for domain name availability and create social media accounts with corresponding identities.
  2. Understanding the differences between registering trademarks and business names is vital, as trademarks provide additional advantages, such as unique symbols that can be used exclusively by the organisation. This prevents confusion and competition within the market.
  3. To ensure your brand’s legal protection, choose a distinctive and memorable name, perform name and trademark searches, and avoid including company-type descriptors or domain extensions when registering a trademark. Proper trademark registration can provide protection for years if the required renewal fees are paid every ten years.

Full Article

Registering a company name is a requisite step in establishing a venture. However, registering one’s brand as a trademark is equally important to ensure its protection. In addition, entrepreneurs ought to verify domain name availability and create corresponding social media accounts. For existing enterprises, safeguarding their brand - typically among their most valuable assets - necessitates immediate trademark registration.

There are five compelling reasons to register a trademark: securing legal ownership, deterring others from using similar marks without permission, gaining access to international markets through foreign registries or treaties, minimising infringement disputes when selling products online across state borders, and establishing exclusive usage rights within certain categories, which can lead to increased customer loyalty. Furthermore, understanding the distinctions between registering trademarks and obtaining business names offers additional advantages, such as unique symbols exclusively associated with the organisation, thereby eliminating confusion and competition in relevant markets. This protection is enforced by national laws, ensuring breaches are dealt with swiftly and effectively.

To register a business name in Australia, companies must apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) at the Australian Business Register (ABR). Following this, they can apply through ASIC to officially register their desired business names, although approval is not guaranteed due to potential similarities with pre-existing trademarks or company names. Prospective business owners must check their preferred name’s availability on the Australian Business Register to avoid confusion with existing entities. To ascertain that no conflicting trademarks have been applied for or registered, IPAustralia should be consulted.

It is essential to register a trademark to ensure a brand name remains unique and protected against unauthorised usage. Tips to help entrepreneurs choose the perfect title for their venture include ensuring it stands out among competitors while staying legally protected. Registering a business name with ASIC is an important initial step; however, this does not grant exclusive usage rights. Trademark registration is necessary for further brand protection and to legally prevent competitors from using identical or closely matching names.

Trademarks can encompass words, logos, letters, numbers, phrases, sounds, smells, shapes, and more. Two different companies can own the same trademark for distinct goods and services. Therefore, businesses should obtain appropriate trademark registration across all potential target markets, including future expansions or pivots. Companies must ensure the names they select for their businesses are clear to consumers. Understanding the proper use of registered trademark symbols (® and ™) is crucial to protect one’s interests.

When applying for a trademark, the unique part of the brand name should be protected. Descriptors indicating company type, such as ‘LIMITED’ or ‘Pty. Ltd.’, are unnecessary, while domain extensions should be avoided unless they form an integral part of the distinctive identity. With successful acceptance, trademarks are guaranteed protection for many years, requiring renewal every ten years with associated fees but remaining valid in the interim.

The most critical aspect of establishing a company is selecting a unique and memorable business name. After verifying its availability and gathering the necessary information, online submission of the application is a swift process.