WNA Blog

Wed 22 Jun 2016

Insider Secrets to Unlocking Your Dream Business Name

Public Relations & Media Services

When it comes to branding, sure – consistency is super important, but there are clever ways to get what you want. Many clients and personal friends have shared their exasperated tales of trying to name their businesses and coming up with great names only to find the domain is taken or someone else has the name on Google already.

Let me share with you my naming secrets to help you get the business name you want…

The domain is the least of your concerns!

You can always get creative with domains and come up with something memorable and fabulous.

By way of example, we created a great story to name a property developer client of ours ‘Mother’. Of course, that domain was never going to happen. But because they would have properties sprouting up all over town, we secured the domain another mother dot com (anothermother.com) – ‘oh look, there’s another Mother development’.

Another example was a client whose agency makes science films and manages social media for science companies to help share their scientific findings and help them interact with their audiences. They loved the name Reagency (a mix of reagent, a popular scientific word + agency). The domain was taken and they were devastated. But simply by changing the domain to reagency lab dot com (reagencylab.com) the name was back on the table!

They could have also tried the reagency dot com, but this can cause words running together: thereagency – which could be read as ‘there agency’. So you must check if you are getting any major confusion to find the perfect domain option for you.

Just because someone else has the name, doesn’t mean you can’t too.

The purpose of trademark is to protect brands from other brands leveraging from the goodwill they have already created in their brand, or their marketing efforts. So as long as you are not ‘passing off’ (trying to leverage off someone else’s brand), or setting up a brand with the same name in the same business category, within Australia, you should be quite fine.

Business categories or ‘classes’ are defined on the Australian Trade Mark Online Search System (ATMOSS) on the IP Australia website. (Just enter as a guest unless you need to save your results)


You can easily enter search terms and find your business class. Once you know your business class, you can run a search for your desired name, along with your class(es) and see what comes up.

If there is an exact match in your class, you probably cannot have that name, though you may be able to add to the name or change it enough to make it different enough to make it passable. This is where you’d want the advice of a trademark attorney.

That is why even though the name Apple is obviously taken by Apple, the multinational tech brand, you will find many other trademarks on the database for businesses with the name Apple in other categories from makeup to gardening.

Watch out for this trap…

Unfortunately, you have to check Google as well because not everyone registers for a trademark on ATMOSS; they just take the name they want and start to use it. And if they are in your category and have the name first, they might have established goodwill in that name. This means you cannot use the name. Be sure to check ATMOSS and Google within Australia (not the whole world), or you could be served with a cease and desist letter.

Your company name is not necessarily your business (brand) name.

Your company name does not need to match your trading name. Your logo does not need to have the ‘pty ltd’ in it, for heaven’s sake. Our company name is Big Picture Group Corporation Trust Pty Ltd.

Our brand name is Bellman. We also have a brand name Emote Digital under the same company name. So if your dream name is taken on ASIC, just add your location, city, or service offering to it. E.g. for us it could be: Bellman Melbourne, Bellman Branding, Bellman Agency etc.

I hope these points help you secure the name you have always wanted! And if you’re unsure, just call WNA’s head office on 1800 052 476 and ask for the contact details of a Member who provides trademark/legal advice.

Happy naming!

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