Business Name Accepted, Trademark Rejected: What’s the Deal? (Understanding Trademarks in Australia)

2 March, 2024

Many business owners encounter a frustrating situation: their business name gets registered, but their trademark application receives an “Adverse Report” from IP Australia. This can be confusing, especially after investing time and resources into building a brand around that name.

The key difference lies in the purpose and legal protection offered by business names and trademarks:

Business Names:

  • Purpose: Identify a business entity, not specific products or services.
  • Function: Help customers recognize your business.
  • Exclusivity: No exclusive rights unless registered as a trademark.
  • Registration: Simple and inexpensive, with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).


  • Purpose: Distinguish your specific goods or services from competitors.
  • Form: Can be a word, phrase, logo, image, sound, shape, etc.
  • Exclusivity: Grant exclusive rights to use the mark for specific goods/services nationwide.
  • Registration: More complex and expensive, with IP Australia.
  • Benefits: Provide legal grounds to combat trademark infringement.

Therefore, registering a business name does not grant you exclusive rights to the brand. As the ASIC website states: “If you want exclusive rights to your business name, you should consider protecting it with a trademark.

To avoid costly mistakes:

  • Consult a trademark attorney/lawyer before registering a business name or trademark.
  • Ensure your chosen name meets IP Australia’s trademark requirements.

By understanding the distinction between business names and trademarks, you can make informed decisions to protect your brand and avoid potential legal disputes. This can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Remember: This information is for general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific situations and trademark-related queries, always seek professional legal counsel to ensure you comply with Australian trademark laws and protect your brand effectively.

Need assistance with your trademark registration? Whether you’re in Australia, New Zealand, or beyond, Maygust Trademark Attorneys are here to help. Don’t navigate the process alone – our qualified attorneys can guide you every step of the way.


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