Publications and News

Have you protected your business name?

28 November 2017

Many business owners think that registering a business or company name gives them exclusive rights to use that name. You may be surprised to learn that merely registering a business name or company name only identifies the name under which your business trades. It doesn’t give you ownership of (or proprietary rights to use) that name.

Registration does prevent someone else from registering the same or almost identical business name however it does not prevent someone else from using that name or similar name which can lead to potentially disastrous consequences. Consider the following scenario:

Sue registers a business name ‘Munchalicious Biscuits’. After 10 years building a successful and profitable business with a great reputation for making quality biscuits and a loyal customer base, sales rapidly start to decline. With some on-line research it doesn’t take Sue long to discover many of her customers are now buying biscuits labelled ‘Munchalicious’ from an on-line retailer in Western Australia under the registered business name ‘Biscuits R Us’. Outraged, Sue emails Biscuits R Us demanding they immediately cease selling any biscuits labelled ‘Munchalicious’. After numerous reminders over the next 12 months without response, Sue receives a letter from a Solicitor advising that Biscuits R Us have registered the trade mark ‘Munchalicious’. To Sue’s horror and disbelief, the letter demands that Sue cease using the word ‘Munchalicious’ in the sale or promotion of any of her products.

A registered trade mark prohibits anyone else in Australia from commercially using that trade mark for the same class of goods or services. Trade mark applications are processed on a first in first served basis. If only Sue had registered the trade mark ‘Munchalicious’ when she started her business 10 years ago!

Whether you already own a business or you’ve got a great idea for a new one, don’t let someone else take advantage of your hard work, reputation and great ideas.

For further information call us to discuss.

Grant Wilcox Lawyer

Grant joined JMA Legal in our Gundagai office in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Laws and Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Grant works c.. Learn more about Grant Wilcox

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