Your business idea is prepared and you are ready to dominate the market. You even thought of a clever name for your business. Alison Peck, like many small business owners, followed that process in naming her small chocolate business No. 5.

While both the chocolate and the perfume smell amazing, Alison landed herself in potential lawsuit situation. See Five things you need to know about Chanel’s “No. 5” branding dilemma.

It is worth noting that conducting a trademark search on ATMOSS along with searching whether your selected business name is available could prove useful. Failing to check the availability of your business name could lead to possible trademark infringements, you could be sued by a competitor for attempting to use the same, or similar, business name. You can also risk losing brand recognition that you may have built up in the market or, even worse, it can lead to closure of your business.

It is important to note that there is a difference between a trademark and a business name. Business names do not provide you, as the owner, with proprietary rights for the use of that name. On the other hand, a trademark provides the owner with the exclusive right to use that trademark for goods and/or services for which it is registered, in Australia.

How can you avoid landing in Alison’s situation?

There are tools online that can help you figure out if your clever business name is available or if someone else got the idea before you.

  • ASIC Connect is a useful tool that allows you to check the availability of your business or company name online. ASIC has a business availability test that your chosen name must pass in order to be registered.
  • Businessname is another website that yields a quick answer indicating whether the entered business name is available.

If you need further information about legally protecting your business, contact a Lawpath consultant on 1800LAWPATH.

Dominic Woolrych

Dominic is the CEO of LawPath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.