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Hi there,

Firstly, to clarify – your ‘examples’ are definitely under the area of Trademarks rather than copyright. Trademark registration would be the appropriate protection for a name. It can be tricky to answer questions based on example names, but I hope the following helps.

Trademarks are registered in connection with the particular activities relevant. So, if the other business does have a trademark registered but they’re not in the same line of work it’s less likely there would be an infringement issue.

Registering the trademark will not provide you the right to trade under the name; for this you will still need to register the business name.

In short if you register “Example Cleaning Co” (which would be found different enough to simply Example by ASIC) then this entitles you to hold the domain example.com.au.

Assuming that your use of Example is not likely to infringe a registered trademark, or fall under the areas of “passing off” and similar then you could create and promote a logo that features this name. I would encourage you to register your own name or logo as your trademark to ensure its ongoing safety and protection.

If you have registered Example Cleaning Co (rather than simply Example) as the business name, it needs to be clear that this is your trading name when you are communicating your business. I would therefore encourage answering the phone as “Example Cleaning Co” and, you should include the full trading name in any directory listings etc. However, if you do have your logo registered as a trademark then you are entitled to use it – so, in a directory listing that allows images you could upload your logo (that’s simply based on Example) so long as the additional information identifies the business by its registered name.

As others have mentioned, you want to avoid brand confusion – but, the main reason you need to register a business name (and therefore display it appropriately) is so that there are records kept of who is running a business in Australia in case another person needs to access information about the operators of the business or serve papers etc.

So, if you were displaying only “Example” and answering the phone as ‘Example’ etc rather than your full name then consumers/others would struggle locating your full business information if needed; they’d then likely look up the business name and find the other “Example” business that has been registered rather than you/your business.

This could have an adverse affect in the situation (for example) if they did need to serve papers or make complaints – they’d end up doing so with the wrong entity. So, it’s important to ensure consumers can identify your business properly, which would involve you ensuring that the full name is available in listings/advertisements etc.

I hope this assists?