Business Name Disputes

Sometimes in business, disputes can arise over having a similar business name to another operator. Perhaps you’re concerned that the similarity in names is confusing to customers OR you believe that you have a legal right to the exclusive use of that name.

What should you do as a business owner if someone else has copied your name?

Check out our quick tips below:

Check Business Name Registration

Are the business names registered? Refer to ASIC for more information by researching their registry and business name availability tests.ASIC is responsible for registering business names under the Business Names Registration Act 2011 (Business Names Act). ASIC applies rules to the registration of business names and one of those is if a name is identical or nearly identical to another name, ASIC must not register it.

However, this can get tricky if the names are “similar.”

Are the Business Names Registered as a Trade Mark?

Registering a business name does not give you exclusive use over that name or offer protection that a registered trade mark does. Whether a registered trade mark exists or not can make a huge difference.

Passing Off

Is the other business “passing off” as your business? Passing off is when a business wrongly suggests a connection to another’s goods or services.If you’re concerned about another business having a similar or identical name to you, research your options throughly by heading to:

  • IP Australia
  • ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) or
  • ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission)

You can also seek independent legal advice about your situation.

At Litton Legal, we’re Intellectual Property and Dispute Resolution experts. If you need help with a business name dispute, contact our friendly team on