How to Trademark a Company Name
- Are you wondering How to Trademark a Company Name in Australia?
- There is a common misconception that having a company’s name registered with ASIC provides that company with proprietary rights to its name.
- In a strict legal sense, this is untrue. In fact, a registered company name, on its own, may not even be enough to protect that company from being sued for infringing someone else’s rights to a trade mark.
- Therefore it is of utmost important that companies understand the difference between a registered company name and a trade mark.
How to Trademark a Company Name
When a company registers its name with ASIC it is simply creating for itself a national legal identity which is used to identify and distinguish the company from all other companies in Australia. Because the primary purpose of registered company names in Australia is to identify one company from another, a new company cannot register a name that is identical to an existing registered company name. However, in most cases, it is perfectly fine to register a company name that is similar, even strikingly so, to an existing registered company or business name. Therefore, if you register your company name and your company becomes highly successful and nationally recognised, without a registered trademark, there is nothing stopping your competitors from registering another company with a very similar name and trading under that name in order to exploit your company’s good will.
Furthermore, if a competitor knows how to trademark a company name very similar to yours, and also registers that name as a trademark, they will have superior rights in a dispute over ownership of that name and similar names, even though you may have registered your company name first.
Now that you understand why you must know how to trademark a company name, you need to know how exactly you go about making such a registration.
How to Trademark a Company Name in Australia
The first thing that you need to be sure of before attempting to register a trademark for your company name is whether or not your company name is similar to an existing trade mark. As discussed above, it is possible to register a company name that is very similar to an existing company name, however, this is not the case when it comes to registering your company name as a trademark.
Another thing to consider when you trademark a company name is what ‘class(es)’ your trademark will be registered under. In Australia, all trade marks are identified from one or more of 45 different classes of goods and services. You must register your company name under all of the classes that are indicative of the type of goods or services that constitute your company’s business. Questions you should ask yourself in order to determine the classes that are relevant to your company include:
- How does your company make money?
- What does your company do?
- How is your company identified by the public?
To determine whether you can trademark a company name under the relevant classes, you must first search the Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS). If someone else has already registered your company name under the classes relevant to your company, you must either register a different name or seek legal advice.
The importance of registering a trademark for a company name cannot be over-emphasised. Nor can the importance of performing such a registration CORRECTLY. Quick Off The Mark can help you save time and money by ensuring ensure that your trademark application is done right and offers your company the best protection possible.