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JacquiPryor
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jetbookkeeping, post: 82564 wrote:
… anyone can come along, register the name and shut your site down to claim that domain themselves.

That’s not entirely true :)
A business name is an alias for whoever is running the business, mostly so there can be an accurate record of ‘who’ is operating businesses in Australia; there is no ‘protection’ or ‘exclusive’ ownership in a business name and it is not a legal entity like a person or company. To gain “ownership” rights, a trademark should be registered. (The registered owner of a trademark has the right to use that trademark for nominated goods/services, and authorise others to use that mark for the goods/services, and where applicable/appropriate take action against people infringing that trademark – a business name does not give these rights).

In most cases where there are name disputes, consideration will be given to who used the name first; in the case of domain names, there are specific policies to be met when registering a .com.au name, as Alexander pointed out; that your domain name name is connected to your business name/company name or closely relates to your goods/services etc (NB: If you are the trademark owner, this also entitles you to register the domain name). A .com domain name, for example, does not have these requirements.

I think that each state may differ on whether an online business needs to register a business name. Recently I was reading something about NSW and it appears there that it’s not a requirement; However, at http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/CA256EB5000644CE/page/Business+names-Business+names-What+is+a+business+name%3f?OpenDocument&1=20-Business+names~&2=010-Business+names~&3=010-What+is+a+business+name%3f~ (Being for Victorian business names) it clearly states if you are conducting business under any name other than your own, you must legally register that business name.

Ultimately, for the sake of $85 or so for three years, it would be a good idea to register the business name I feel.

Best,