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 help ensure your business name does not infringe on an existing registered trademark, you can use IP Australia's free TM Checker tool to complete an initial check on the availability of your trademark. Many businesses also seek advice from a professional attorney before using a new business name or trademark.  

If you want exclusive rights to your business name, you should consider protecting it with a trademark. A registered trademark is a type of intellectual property (IP) right that protects a business's unique brand, products or services.

Visit the IP Australia website to:

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 .au, 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