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What you need to know about Copyright, Trademark and Business Name Registrations


In Australia, copyright protection is automatically granted to any original creations. This means that as soon as someone has created something original such as writing, music or artwork, they then become the copyright holder for the creation.

As the copyright holder, you then own the rights to your creation, including the right to license other people or organisations to use that work. Therefore, when you are  planning your business and designing your new website, you need to consider if you will be using your own copyright material, or if you are planning on using another person’s images and words. If so, you need to make sure you have their permission before you do so.


A trademark is an intellectual property right that is granted for a unique word, phrase, sound, packaging, smell, logo or image and it used  to distinguish your goods and services from those of another business.   A trademark is useful if you plan on selling a unique good or service via your online business.   Trademarks require official registration in order to claim ownership and protection. Without official registration you may claim something is your ‘trademark’, but, you are not provided with legally enforceable rights to that ‘trademark’ unless you go through the official process.

You also need to make sure that you don’t infringe on another companies trademarks when designing your marketing, website copy etc.

Registering a business name 

If you are using any name apart from your own given name, then you will need to register a business name for your business. Business name registration is a simple and relatively quick process, which can be completed online. The first step is to contact ASIC to make sure that your chosen name is not already registered to another business.  If all is good so far, you can find out whether your preferred domain name is available through a domain seller.

At this stage, you will need to visit the ASIC website to complete the business name registration application and pay the applicable fees.

About the author:

Katherine new picKatherine Hawes is a Sydney based lawyer at New Age Legal Solutions who specialises in offering fixed fee and low cost legal advice to start up businesses.

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Katherine Hawes

Katherine Hawes

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