Business Names, Company Names, Domain Names & Trademarks

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					Business Names, Company Names, Domain Names &
Why it's important to know the                                    IP Australia provides a professional search service called
                                                                  the Business Names Applicant Search Service (BASS) for
difference between the names?                                     a fee of $40 (GST inclusive). Our staff will conduct a
                                                                  thorough search of the database and issue a report
When you choose the name for your new                             showing if
business/company or select an Internet domain name you
are creating an identity for your business. Your identity             •    there is an existing registered trade mark which is
distinguishes your goods and services from your                            identical or very similar to your proposed business
competitors so it is important that it is memorable,                       name. You can apply for a search by calling 1300
meaningful and protected. Business, company names and                      651 010 during normal business hours (if paying
domain names are best protected when they are also                         by credit card), or you can mail or fax them your
registered as trade marks.                                                 request.

It is important to understand that if you register a particular       •    Check the domain names registers. For links to
business name and then later seek a trade mark, you are                    the various domain names registers in Australia,
not automatically entitled to the same name as a trade                     visit the .au Domain Administration website at
mark. A domain name may not be available to you either.          
This means you need to check a variety of registers to
determine whether the name you want is available as a
business or company name, trade mark and a domain
                                                                  What is a business name?
                                                                  A business name is the name under which a business
When choosing a new company or business name, you                 operates and registration identifies the owners of that
should:                                                           business. Registration is compulsory, in every state and
                                                                  territory from which a business operates, and must be
                                                                  completed before the business starts trading. Unlike trade
    •    Search the company names and business names
                                                                  marks, business names do not necessarily provide
         registers which determine whether the name you
                                                                  proprietary rights for the use of the trading name. In South
         have selected is already being used. For company
                                                                  Australia Business names are administered by the Office of
         names, contact the Australian Securities and
                                                                  Consumer and Business Affairs (OCBA).
         Investments Commission Business Centre (ASIC)
         at For business names, contact
         the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs
         (OCBA) on 1300 138 918.
                                                                  What is a company name?
                                                                  A company name, or registrable body, must be registered
    •    Then, if you intend to use your company or
                                                                  with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission
         business name as a trading name you should also
                                                                  (ASIC). If a company wishes to trade using a name other
         search the trade marks register, see
                                                                  than its registered company name, it must register that and consider filing an
                                                                  trading name as a business name. Unlike trade marks,
         application for a registered trade mark. If your new
                                                                  company names do not necessarily provide proprietary
         name is identical or similar to another person's
                                                                  rights for the use of the trading name. ASIC is responsible
         registered trade mark, you could be sued for
                                                                  for the administration of company names – see
         infringement. Even if you decide to operate
         without a registered trade mark, you should
         search the trade marks register to ensure you are
         not infringing someone else’s trade mark.
What is a trade mark?                                                                                  IP searching firms and IP lawyers may also be able to help
                                                                                                       you – see your local Yellow Pages Directory for details.
A trade mark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound,
                                                                                                       If you would like further information and forms for trade
smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any
                                                                                                       marks, please ask for a Trade Marks Application Kit from IP
combination of these. Once you register a trade mark in
                                                                                                       Australia, details listed previously or contact an Information
Australia, you have exclusive legal right to use, license or
                                                                                                       Officer from the Department of Trade and Economic
sell it.
                                                                                                       Development on 1800 188 018.
Even if you do not register a trade mark, you can still use it.
There is protection against unauthorised use of your trade
                                                                                                       The information in this BIZFACT has been sourced from IP
mark under the trade practices or fair trading legislation
                                                                                                       Australia. Any enquiries should be directed to IP Australia
and it is possible to take action under common law.
                                                                                                       on 1300 651 010.
However, trade mark registration is advisable because it
can be an expensive and time consuming exercise to take
action under common law.

What is a domain name?
A domain name is the unique name that is both intuitive
and easy to remember.

To register a domain name or to view the rules and policies
for registration of domain names in, visit the .au
Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) website, You can also register a domain name as
a word trade mark, provided that it meets the requirements
of the Trade Marks Act.

Further information and Contacts
IP Australia
Innovation House, East Wing
Mawson Lakes Boulevard

Telephone: 1300 651 010
Facsimile: 08 8231 8913

Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Level 8
100 Pirie Street

Telephone: 1300 300 630
Facsimile: 08 8202 8410

The Office of Consumer and Business Affairs
Third Floor, Chesser House
91 – 97 Grenfell Street

Telephone: 1300 138 918
Facsimile: 08 8204 9771

114 Cardigan Street

Telephone: 1300 732 929
Facsimile: 03 8341 4112

No responsibility for any loss or damage howsoever caused by reliance on any of the information or advice provided by or on behalf of the State of South Australia or the providers of this
service or damage arising from acts or omissions made is accepted by the State of South Australia, the providers of this service or their officers, servants or agents.

Department of Trade and                  GPO Box 1264                         T +61 8 8303 2400 or                   F +61 8 8303 2410                         ABN 83 524 915 929
Economic Development                     ADELAIDE SA 5001                     1800 188 018 (freecall)                E