If I Register My Business Name, Can Someone Else Use It?


Published: December 29, 2023

One of the most common questions that new business owners have is whether registering their business name in Australia protects them from someone else using it. The answer is not as simple as you might think. In this blog post, we will explain the difference between a business name and a trademark, and how you can protect your brand identity in Australia.

A business name is the name under which you conduct your business activities. It is not a legal entity, but rather a way of identifying your business to the public and the government. Registering an ASIC business name does not give you exclusive rights to use that name. It only means that no one else can register the same or a similar name for their business.

A trademark, on the other hand, is a sign that distinguishes your goods or services from those of others. It can be a word, logo, slogan, shape, colour, sound, or any combination of these. Registering a trademark with IP Australia gives you the exclusive right to use that sign for the goods or services that you specify in your application. It also allows you to take legal action against anyone who infringes your trademark rights.

So, what does this mean for your business name? Well, it means that even if you register your business name with ASIC, someone else can still use it as their trademark, or as part of their trademark, for different goods or services than yours. For example, if you register your business name as "ABC Plumbing", someone else can still register a trademark for "ABC Roofing" or "ABC Plumbing Supplies". This could cause confusion among your customers and damage your reputation.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to register your business name as a trademark as well. This will give you the exclusive right to use that name for the goods or services that you provide, and stop anyone else from using it for similar or related goods or services. However, not all business names are eligible for trademark registration. Your business name must be distinctive and not descriptive of your goods or services. For example, you cannot register "Plumbing Services" as a trademark, because it is too generic and does not identify the source of the services.

If you want to protect your business name in Australia, you should consider registering it as a trademark as well as a business name. This will give you the best protection against competitors and copycats who might try to use your name or a similar name for their own benefit. You can register a trademark using the same application and pay the relevant fees. You also need to renew your trademark every 10 years to keep it active.


Registering your business name and trademark in Australia can be a complex and time-consuming process. If you need help with this, you can contact Australian National Business Support. They’re experts in Australian Registrations and intellectual property law and can assist you with registering and protecting your business name and trademark in Australia. Contact them today on 1300 006 263 for a free consultation..

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