A Registered Trade Mark for a Business or Company Name vs a Domain Name – What’s The Difference?

Registration of a business, company or domain name does not give you any proprietary rights – only a trademark can give you that kind of protection.

The same word(s) may be registered by different people as business names and trademarks. However, a registered trademark owner can take legal action against a business name owner for infringing the trademark if the business name owner uses it on goods or services similar to those the trade mark registration covers.

When you register your business name, be careful that its use does not infringe someone else’s trademark.  It is always wise to search trademark databases prior to registering with ASIC.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark identifies a product or a service, distinguishing it from other traders’ similar offerings.  Registration of the trademark gives the owner the legal right to exclusively use or control its use for the goods or services for which it is registered.  Registration is obtained under the TradeMarks Act 1995 and in almost all cases applies across Australia.

What is a Business Name? 

A business name is a trading name only and can be registered through ASIC. 

What is a Company Name? 

A company name identifies a legally incorporated entity.  If a company wishes to trade using a name other than its registered company name, it must register that trading name as a business name. domain names are Internet site addresses.

What is a Domain Name?

Registration of a domain name gives you exclusive use of that Internet address but only for an agreed period of time.

What Do I Use for Best Brand Protection?

No proprietary rights in a name are gained through business name, company name or domain name registration in itself.  ONLY A REGISTERED TRADEMARK provides you with this type of protection.

Rights as the owner of a registered trademark include:

  • the exclusive right to use your trademark as a “brand” for your goods or services in the jurisdiction of registration;

  • licensing others to use your trademark;

  • the sale of the trade mark; and

  • the right to legally deter others from using your trademark.

It is important to protect these rights.  

A registered trademark will also act as an obstacle to any subsequent application by a competitor to register the same or similar trade mark in the same or similar class(es).