Given that the National Business Register doesn’t protect my business name without a trademark, should I even bother?
If you have read my thoughts previously about business name registrations, you would know that I thought they were something of a waste of money (particularly if you also have a trademark registration), as they were not much more than fund raisers for various state governments.
However, the federal regulator, ASIC, has now taken over responsibility for business names, and it is now possible to register a single business name for the whole country, rather than having seven separate business names under the previous state-based system.
Furthermore, the cost is a mere $30 for a one-year registration and $70 for a three-year registration.
I still don’t think that business names are particularly useful. As they do not give you any proprietary rights to the name – i.e. you don’t own it – you cannot stop someone else from using something similar, and registration doesn’t protect you from being sued by someone else who owns trademark rights in the name.
However, it is now easier and cheaper to comply with the requirements to have a business name, if you trade under a different name to the name of the “entity” which owns your business.
To summarise, if you trade under a different name to your entity (e.g. because you are a sole trader, or operate through a trust, or your company name is different to your trading name), you are technically required to register this trading name as a business name. This is now cheaper and easier to accomplish.
But I still think the trademark registration is the more important element, because of the ownership rights it gives you.
I know this doesn’t exactly answer your question, but hopefully it gives you enough information to make your decision.