Naming your small business start-up – what to consider

Posted on January 10th, 2018

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One of the first things to do for your small business start-up is choosing a name. It is also one of the most exciting! It is a creative opportunity to come up with the name that will identify your business going forward and build your successful empire (hopefully)!

 However, there are some unexciting legal considerations that should also be addressed during this process. The main one is to ensure that you are not going to infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property rights when settling on your name or be accused of trying to pass off as another business with a similar name. There are some administrative headaches that can also be avoided if you put some effort into identifying the current marketplace before settling on a name. 

If you choose a name (even inadvertently) that is similar to an existing business, you could face possible infringement action or simply struggle to register your intellectual property through the appropriate channels.

Before pressing forward with your desired name, at a minimum, you should do the following (5) searches for existing or similar names to minimise the chance of future problems:

  1. Conduct a Business Name Index Search,

https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch

  1. Do an ASIC Organisational Search,

http://asic.gov.au/online-services/search-asics-registers/companies-and-organisations/

  1. Perform ABN Search,

http://www.abr.business.gov.au/

  1. Search the Trade Marks Register, and

https://search.ipaustralia.gov.au/trademarks/search/quick

  1. Finally, do a simple Google search.

These simple steps will go a long way to reducing the likelihood that your desired name already exists in your marketplace and minimises the chances of problems arising going forward.

Lachlan Page, Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors, NewcastleLachlan Page is a Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and practices extensively in commercial, business and property transactions and adviceIf you require any assistance in this area please contact Lachlan Page to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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