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Trade Marks and Business Names

What the difference is and what it means for your business
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Did you know that registering your business name or purchasing a domain is not the same as a trade mark?

Well, many people get trade marks and business names confused and this is not a new thing – in fact, back in 2003 the Australian Government conducted a review into the ongoing confusion and found that it was widespread across the country. Despite these results, the government has taken no substantive steps to try and address the issue.

We spoke to Dave Stewart, a Principal at Bennett and Co and here is an explanation he provided on the differences between a trade mark and a business name.

The Trade Marks Act provides statutory monopoly rights in a name. In the absence of owning a trade mark registration, a business cannot say it owns its brand, logo, or tagline. Taking ownership of a trade mark is entirely voluntary and you can choose not to own your brand if you wish. However, having a trade mark in place ensures that no third party can use a brand which is identical or substantially identical to the registered trade mark.

Business names on the other hand are quite different, as they are a compulsory form of consumer protection. The idea is to enable a consumer to see who the entity is behind a trading name. Let’s take Synergy as an example, you can check the business names registry on an invoice and see that they are actually called Electricity Retail & Generation Corporation, a statutory entity.

It’s important to understand the difference between a trade mark and a business name as to ensure legislative compliance, but also to make sure ownership rights are locked down. For more information contact your Ledge Finance Executive or contact us here.