Many people are under the mistaken belief that if they register their Business Name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) that they can, on the one hand, prevent anyone else from using the business name and on the other hand, no one can stop them from using that name. Registering a Business Name is just one of the steps that need to be taken.

In order to fully protect a Business Name from it being used by somebody else, you need to register the name under the Trademarks Act. Unfortunately registration with ASIC simply means you own the business name. That does not mean you can prevent other people from using that name necessarily.

The procedure for registering a Business Name under the Trademarks Act is fairly straight forward and can be done by going to the website for IP Australia and following the prompts in regard to Trademark Registration. Once registered, the registration lasts for ten (10) years and can then be renewed for a further ten (10) years.

It is possible that if you have not fully protected your business name and if you are using a Business Name which is sufficiently similar to an existing Business Name that someone else is using that that other person may try to take legal action to stop you from using your Business Name on the basis that you are “passing yourself off” as that other business.