Reading time: 3 minutes

With the boom in online business, one of the first steps you will take in starting your own online business is to register a domain name. That way, once you have your website and user interface developed, you can start advertising your page and sending the URL out to all and sundry.

What is the difference?

Much confusion exists between what trademarking achieves and what having a domain name achieves. Once a domain name is registered, many people believe that their name is protected and no further action needs to be taken to stop another person using the name.

The situation is more nuanced and it’s important to know the difference between owning a domain name and trademarking a brand to ensure you don’t get caught out.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is part of a network address which identifies it as belonging to a particular domain. Generally, domains do not need to be trademarked to be protected legally. So if you register a domain name; www.shadyfox.com.au then no one else can register the domain name www.shadyfox.com.au. The domain is simply not available!

Do I still need to trademark?

So no one can take your domain name, www.shadyfox.com.au. That’s great, but will this be all you need to protect your brand? Perhaps not. Let’s say that Shady Fox is the name of your bar. Having the domain name shadyfox.com.au would not prevent someone else from starting up a bar down the street, also called Shady Fox. It would just prevent the other bar from having the same domain name. Would that bother the owners of the other bar? Probably not. When you tell your friends to meet you at a particular bar, you don’t tell them to meet you at the shady fox dot com dot au, do you? You tell them to meet you at the Shady Fox.

So there you have your answer. To stop another bar opening up down the road called Shady Fox, you need to trademark.

Trademarking in Australia prevents similar businesses from using a name that is either identical or similar enough to yours that it would confuse customers. This is what’s important when you want to protect your brand – to stop others poaching a great name or to pass themselves off as the same brand.

Conclusion

The best strategy is to register your domain name and couple this with trademark registration. This way you’ll have the perfect name and a matching URL. Customers will be able to easily identify your business and straightaway find your brand online by typing in the name followed by .com.au or an alternative.

Webinars

What to Consider When Buying a Tech or Online Business

Wednesday 13 April | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to get the best deal when buying a tech or online business. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Corporate Governance 101: Responsibilities for New Directors

Wednesday 27 April | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you are a new company director, join our free webinar to understand your legal compliance obligations. Register today.
Register Now

Rogue Directors and Business Divorces: How to Remove a Director

Thursday 28 April | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Removing a board director is not simple. Join our free webinar to learn how to handle rogue directors. Register today.
Register Now

Employment Essentials for Tech Businesses

Thursday 5 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Protect your tech business and your employees by understanding your employment legal obligations. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

How to Protect and Enforce Your Trade Mark

Wednesday 11 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Protect your business’ brand from copycats and competitors. Register for this free webinar to learn how.
Register Now

How Franchisors Can Avoid Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Wednesday 18 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Ensure your franchise is not accused of misleading and deceptive conduct. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

Online
If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer