Business Names - Q&A

Registration of a business name, company name, or domain name does not of itself give you any legally enforceable right to prevent others from using the same or similar name, however, a federally registered trade mark may give you that right.

Q: I have my name registered as a business name - am I fully covered?
A: No. A business names registration gives you no rights at all.

Q: Does a business name registration give me ownership in that name?
A: No. A business name registration does not give the registrant any ownership rights in that name.

Q: Does a business name registration give me the right to use that name.
A: No. A business name registration does not give the registrant any right to use it, especially if it contravenes the legal rights of others, including a federally-registered trade mark.

Q: Does a business name registration give me the right to prevent others from using that name?
A: No. A business name registration does not give the registrant any legally enforceable right to prevent others from using that name.

Q: Why bother to register a business name, then?
A: The state government requires anyone who intends to trade under a name other than their own name to register that name with the Office of Fair Trading, as a matter of public notice and public information. To not register such a name is against the law and an offence. Registering a business name is an obligation imposed on you by law, but gives you no rights, like paying tax.

Q: How, then, do I protect my name from use by others?
A: The most effective way of doing so is by getting a federally registered trade mark, which gives you registered ownership rights, gives you the right to use the trade mark for the goods/services for which it is registered, and gives you the right to bring legal actions to prevent others from using the same or similar trade mark for the goods/services for which your trade mark is registered.

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