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Do you need a trade mark if you’ve already registered your business name and domain name?

The value of a strong brand is well understood as it helps set you apart from your competitors, giving your business a unique identity and drawing in customers. Your choice of business and domain names play a crucial role in how customers perceive and recognise your business. But have you thought about a trade mark?

When selecting your business or domain name you may have used the Business Name Check tool to see if the name is already registered. It’s an easy way to check against existing business and domain names to ensure your preferred business name is not already in use. However, equally crucial is ensuring the protection of your brand and understanding how business and domain names are different from a trade mark.

Let’s have a closer look to make sure you have the protection you need for your business.

Business Name:

A business name is the official name under which your business operates. It’s a crucial aspect of your brand identity that helps customers and other businesses recognise you. If you intend to use a name for your business that is different from your legal name, you must register it as a business name. You can visit the Business Registration Service to register in Australia.

Domain Name:

A domain name serves as your unique online address. It is the web address that people use to find your business on the internet. Your domain name is an essential part of your online presence, helping customers locate your website with ease.

Trade Mark:


A trade mark is an intellectual property right used to distinguish your goods and services from those of another business. Registering that trade mark gives you the exclusive rights to determine how your trade mark can be used and who can use it in Australia.

While a registered trade mark is a form of intellectual property, your business and domain names are not. If you use a trade mark that another business or company has already registered as a trade mark, they may be able to take legal action against you.

A registered trade mark provides legal protection for your brand, products or services and can cover a wide range of elements, such as logos, phrases, words, letters, colours, sounds, smells, pictures, movements, aspects of packaging, or a combination of these.

The differences between these important business assets are shown below:

Registering your branding as a trade mark can give important advantages. Only you can use that mark in connection with your products or services. This can deter competitors from using a similar mark and safeguard your brand’s market position, helping to build customer loyalty. In addition, a registered trade mark is a business asset that can be sold or licensed and increases in value as your business becomes more successful.

Consider these important statistics on the benefits of a registered trade mark:

  • A business with a registered trade mark is 13% more likely to achieve high turnover growth, according to a study by IP Australia
  • After filing for an intellectual property (IP) right, such as a registered trade mark, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are 16% more likely to experience high employment growth compared to businesses with no recent IP filings, according to research by IP Australia
  • Applying for a trade mark is linked to an increase in start-up valuation according to research by IP Australia

If you’re considering registering your name, phrase or logo as a trade mark, TM Checker is a free tool that streamlines the process of checking trade mark availability. It gives users an idea if there are already trade marks that might be similar to their brand or name in the proposed classes of goods and services. From there, it’s a simple process to complete the application which costs from $330 for 10-year protection in Australia.

Source: IP Australia


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