In a crowded market, it is vital to protect your business as a brand. There are four main ways to do so. These are:
- register your domain names .com and .com.au;
2. register your business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (“ASIC”);
3. register your trade mark with IP Australia; and
4. decide and secure your social media handles.Each requires different action, and each will be discussed below.
1) Register your Domains Names .com and .com.au
A domain name is a web address that allows your business to have a professional presence on the internet. Preferably, your domain name should accurately reflect your brand. The .com domain was one of the first Top-Level Domains and has since become the world’s most popular. The domain name .com.au is the most recognisable Australian domain name. You will need an Australian Company Number (“ACN”) or Australian Business Number (“ABN”) if you want to register a .com.au domain name.
2) Register your Business Name with ASIC
Registering your business name with ASIC provides you the legal right to conduct business under this name. It does not give you the exclusive right to stop others from using a similar name for similar goods or services that you provide. The only way to achieve this is by registering your business name as a trade mark for specific goods or services.
3) Register your Business Name as a Trade Mark with IP Australia
A registered trade mark is used to distinguish the goods or services of one trader from the goods or services of another trader. A registered trade mark provides you with exclusive rights to use, license and sell the mark. This means that no one else in Australia can use your trade mark in relation to the goods and services for which it is registered without your permission.
Once registered, you may use your trade mark indefinitely provided that you renew your trade mark every ten years. If you do not use your trade mark for a consecutive period of three years, you may lose your associated trade mark rights.
4) Decide and secure your Social Media Handles
Your social media handle is an important aspect of your branding with respect to your online marketing. Therefore, it’s wise to try to secure matching handles for each of your social media accounts. Having a handle that is the same on every social media platform makes it easier for people to find your business, and it also makes the marketing of your handle more straight forward.
All of the above four methods protect your business as a brand. However, registering your business name as a trade mark is arguably the most important method. This is because registering a trade mark gives you exclusive rights to your brand name and logo in Australia. A registered trade mark owner has the exclusive right to prevent other traders using a confusingly similar mark in relation to similar goods or services that you provide.
To speak to a trade mark specialist about lodging a trade mark application, call Trade Mark Direct today on 1300 002 210 or email us at email@example.com.
Key words: brand, brand protection, business name, logo, domain name, trade mark and social media handle.