Disputes about similar business names - video transcript
Transcript of video about what to do if you have a dispute over a similar business name, presented by Ryan, ASIC's Misconduct and Breach Reporting team, uploaded 22 July 2014.
What are disputes about similar business names?
Often the concern is that two businesses with similar names confuse customers. Or a business owner might think they have a legal right to the exclusive use of a business name they have registered.
There are rules that apply when ASIC receives an application to register a business name.
The rules intend to prevent registration of a name that is identical or nearly identical to a business name or company name that is already registered.
We consider whether the proposed name is identical or nearly identical to a business name registered under the Business Names Act.
Similar names can be registered.
For example, the names The Pretty Cupcake and Pretty Cupcakes would be considered identical or nearly identical.
The names Mike's Bikes and Mike's Bikes and Skates would be considered similar but not identical or nearly identical.
You can find more examples and information on the rules we used to determine business name availability on our website.
What are my options?
The registration of a business name does not stop another person from registering a similar name - does not give you the exclusive right to use the name or part of the name - and will not prevent somebody using a registered trademark with the same name.
If you think that a business with a similar name to your own is confusing to customers or infringing your right to the use of a name, there may be private legal options available to you. Here we recommend you seek legal advice.
If you're unsure about how to access legal advice, contact the Law Society in your state or territory.
If you think that there is a risk to you because of the registration of a business name, you may be able to ask ASIC to review its decision to register that business name.
For more information, visit our website.
An important point to note is that a business name registration is not the same as a trademark and does not provide protection against use by others like a trademark does.
For more information on trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property rights, visit the IP Australia website.