Deciding your business name is a vital choice to make. It would be considered as an important asset if your business goes well. The goodwill you have built for years with your customers and suppliers may be affected if you lose your business name because of your failure to protect it.
Business names can be simple, self-explanatory or captivating! In choosing your business name, you should think on how it would reflect your business image. You would want your business name to be differentiated and remembered from the rest of your competitors, so it should be unique and appealing.
You are required to register your business name according to laws in the territory or state you intend to do business, except if you are using your personal name or an existing company name. It is possible that your chosen name is already an existing business name but this is acceptable because registering a business name does not give you any proprietary rights unless you register for a trademark.
A trademark is any word, name, letter, symbol, phrase, name, logo, shape, smell, colour, sound or design, or any combination thereof, used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one business from those of another.
Although it is not compulsory to register your own trademark, it is but highly recommended to do so as trademarks is a useful marketing tool and is considered to be an important asset. Unlike an ordinary business or trade name, a trademark is protected by law and any unauthorised use of it can suffer legal obligations.
IP Australia, an Australian government agency is responsible for administering intellectual property rights including trademarks, designs, patents and plant breeders’ rights. If you wish to register your trademark, it should be done through them.
Nowadays, small businesses can enjoy the benefits of selling through the internet. Creating a website for online selling or advertising reasons is relatively simple to do. Another advantage of a domain name is you have an email address which reflects your business name.
Register your domain name with a registrar or reseller listed by the Australian Domain Name Administrator (www.auda.org.au). You should note, however, that you do not own the domain name. You only have a licence to use if for a specific period of time, as long as you are eligible and currently registered.
Company name registration is more complicated than business name registration, however, there are some essential guidelines to follow.
You should make a research if there are no existing company names similar to what you want to use. Your company name must also include its legal status (ie ‘Pty Ltd’, ‘Corp.’). Just like the business name, there are no proprietary rights when you register your company name.
All companies must register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. A unique Australia Company Number and a certificate of registration are issued upon registration. For more information, visit www.asic.gov.au and search under the tab ‘For companies’.
- Visit business.gov.au and know how and where to register your business name in your state or territory.
- Visit ipaustralia.gov.au and know how to register your trademark.
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James HuyVuong is a CPA and the owner of Your Accounting Partners. Partnering with businesses from start to scale thru to sale.