For most businesses their business name is a valuable asset and worth protecting.

Most business owners set up their business and think by registering a business name or internet domain they have done enough. In some ways it is understandable as they inevitably register their name with ASIC and a search will reveal the name is unavailable.

BEWARE by only registering a business name or even a Pty Limited you do not have exclusive ownership rights to that name.


Whether you have a New or Old Business you need a Trade Mark to protect your name and prevent others from using it:

  • A trade mark can be a logo, image, word, phrase, letter, sound, movement, shape or scent that distinguishes your business from the other providers of products and services in a particular market.
  • Registering a trade mark for your business name with IP Australia grants you the exclusive right to your business name in Australia for an initial period of 10 years.
  • This means you can prevent others from using your business name and take legal action against anyone who does, ever wondered why Burger King is called Hungry Jacks only in Australia?

By registering a trade mark you protect your brand, a valuable asset of your business. If you do not every other action you take to defend your asset will be time consuming and costly i.e.

  • There is what is known as a common law (or ‘unregistered’) trade mark, this is where an unregistered trade mark (such as a business name) has been used for a sufficiently long period of time to develop a substantial reputationfor the person using the name. You need to prove that you are the first person in the market and who the consumers should properly associate with the name and this is only for the markets you are trading in so someone can use your name elsewhere and there may be nothing you can do about it.
  • Our friends at Andreyev Lawyers have acted for a number of international businesses that registered a trade mark in Australia who have been able to force a transfer of their internet domain name back from people who have been ‘squatting‘ on the name.


Starting a business or already in business:

  1. Speak to a good business adviser/accountant. At VJC we advise and create businesses and we can advise and refer you to commercial lawyers and other professionals where needed.
  2. Get the structure right, take a holistic view.
  3. Register the business name with ASIC.
  4. Get the Domain name and these days it is wise to set up a website and other social media must haves.
  5. Consider if you should register a Trade Mark with IP Austrailia.

General Advice warning: the information in this article is general in nature, it is not advice specific to your needs. If you want to act upon the information in this article then you should seek advice from a qualified professional. VJC WM accepts no liability to any party for acting from this information unless they have sought advice in a formal engagement with VJC WM for this purpose.