Domain and Business Names

Domain Names

Domain names form an important part of any IP portfolio and are an essential aspect of e-commerce. In particular, the effective use of domain names can significantly enhance brand penetration and awareness in target markets.

A comprehensive domain name registration program can also avoid the risks of domain name piracy and squatting by other parties. It is important to note that domain name registration does not in itself confer ownership rights and is therefore a supplement, not an alternative, to the protection conferred by trademark registration.

Domain name disputes typically arise when domain names which incorporate third party trade marks are registered. In Australia, use of a trade mark in a domain name may infringe a registered trade mark or breach a trade mark owner’s common law rights and consumer protection legislation.

We handle disputes involving enforcement of trade mark rights against owners of conflicting domain names. We can also advise you regarding contentious matters such as cyber-squatting and if required take appropriate action to recover domain names which have been improperly registered.

Many domain name disputes are resolved through the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) or the Australian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).  We provide advice on dispute resolution strategies and procedures as well as prepare and lodge formal complaints.

Business Names

A business name must be registered before it is used. Any company, person or other entity that trades  in a name other than their own legal name must register that name.

Registration of a business name does not provide any proprietary or enforceable rights to that name.  So it’s important to consider registering your business name as a trade mark. And also to ensure your intended trading name does not infringe any third party rights.

Unlike a business name, trade mark registration provides the right to exclusive use of that trade mark throughout Australia, in relation to the goods or services for which the mark is registered.  Registration of a trade mark also provides a statutory defence to allegations of infringement of any other trade mark registration.