Is Your Business Name Infringing on a Trademark ?
Recently more of our enquiries have been along the lines “I need help, I have just received a letter from a company saying they own a trademark and if I don’t cease to use our business name on our website and brochures, they want to take us to court as we are infringing on their trademark”.
As early as yesterday, we met up with a client who started a business only a year ago and they have received a phone call warning them that they need to change their business name/brand name or else they will engage lawyers to start infringement proceedings. The client could not understand why they could apply for the business name and domain name successfully and now they are told they can not use that name for their business.
We weree engaged to assist this client to find a new brand name that is able to be TRADEMARKED. They do not have to change their company name, they just need to change the name of their brand. A business name, company name and domain name does not provide any legal protection of a brand. Actually, it has nothing to do with branding, a business name is there for the government to identify you for tax purposes. Therefore we are able to assist this client without he/she having to change their business name, we just need to work with them to find a name they are happy with which is able to be trademarked so that they do not find themselves in the same situation again, infringing on a registered trademark name.
One case stands out for us, our client in Sydney AUSTRALIAN UNITED DEVELOPMENTS PTY LTD found that there was another company in Melbourne with the company name AUSTRALIA UNITED DEVELOPMENT PTY LTD. As you can see, there are only two letters that differ in these two business names. The “N” in Australian and “S” in Developments. They both have been trading for about two years. It was only when they applied for their respective trademarks they found about each other. As you can see, the myth that someone can not have a similar business name/company name is false. Myth debunked!
For anyone looking to start up a new business, give us a call to discuss your new business name, so you don’t find yourself infringing on a trademark without knowing it.
Ignorance is not a good defence if you end up in court.
If any of this raises questions you would like clarified us the comment box below.