How to protect your business name

A business name does not give you exclusive trading rights or ownership over that name.

Registering a particular name does not stop another person from registering a similar name. It also does not give you the exclusive right to use the name or part of the name.

Registering a business name will not stop someone who has registered the name as a trademark from using it.  In fact, using a business name that is similar to someone else’s registered trade mark could cause you legal problems.  You should always conduct a trade mark search before deciding on a business name.

The obligation to register a business name is separate to protecting any intellectual property rights in a name or brand, such as registering a trademark.


Check for any state or territory business licenses you may need. The Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) has information about government-related licenses, registration and permits.


To ensure your business name does not infringe on an existing registered trademark, use IP Australia's Australian Trade Mark Search. This allows you to search for existing trademarks.

Watch IP Australia's video on YouTube for more information

Domain name

A domain name gives online businesses a unique electronic address. You can arrange to buy a domain name yourself or through an internet service provider (ISP).

To buy a or, you must be a commercial entity and have an Australian Company Number (ACN) or Australian Business Number (ABN).

You can check the availability of your domain name registration at .au Domain Administration.

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Last updated: 29/04/2014 12:00