Choosing an Online Business Name is one of the first things you do when you want to start a business. It’s an important decision – you don’t want to get it wrong. If you do get it wrong, it can end up being a costly mistake.
Here’s an example of a Legal123 client who thought she had done the right thing. She registered her business name with ASIC, bought a domain name and started marketing under this name. She spent a lot of time and money over the years building her brand and business.
Then some years later, she thought she should trademark her name and logo, only to find someone else had trademarked the name and been running a similar business under the same name (but a different domain suffix)! She now is starting from scratch, spending a lot of time and money re-branding and re-marketing her business.
Here are the 4 mistakes our client made when choosing her online business name:
Didn’t do an IP search of the business name: Our client registered a business name with ASIC several years ago, then started trading and marketing her business under this registered name. But failed to check the trademark or other IP registration.
Didn’t purchase the domain name before starting: They then decided to launch their online business, but when they tried to register the domain name they found the domain name they wanted was already taken. And by someone with a similar business! They were in fact an established offshore business who had decided to start using the domain name and marketing in Australia.
Didn’t register the business name as a trademark: When they went to register the trademark, their business was too similar to the offshore entity who had registered the trademark and domain name. They had not checked the IP Australia website or searched for the trademark before deciding on their business name.
Didn’t keep track of their business name: Over the years, they established a brand, built up their business and had been marketing for some time. But they continued to do so without checking whether others had registered the business name as a trademark. In effect, they were breaching another business’ copyright and registered trademark.
It’s unfortunate, but this client now has to research a new business name, check to make sure it’s available, register it and the trademark. Then start re-branding and re-marketing the business.
So follow these essential steps when deciding on a business name …
You can avoid these mistakes and save yourself time, grief and money if you follow these steps:
- Search the ASIC website for your preferred business name.
- Search the IP Australia website for your business name.
- Check the domain name is available, plus all derivations such as .net, .com, .org and any overseas countries you might expand into.
- Check the name is available on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. using an online tool like NameChk.
- Register the name with ASIC and the business name as a trademark with IP Australia.
- Register ALL the domain names and hold onto the ones you won’t use to protect your name from copycat businesses.
- Lastly, register user names with ALL the social media platforms you might use.
Registering a business name together with trademark and domain name should be priority. Don’t get caught out – it’s easy if you follow the steps above.
Registering a Trademark is not straightforward. So save yourself the trouble and let us take care of this for you. Use the Legal123: