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  • #979067
    harvcam
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    • Total posts: 19
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    Hi

    I am looking at starting a small business selling handmade accessories online. I’m a bit confused when it comes to branding and business names and the connection between the two.

    Say I have a blog that I have been keeping for some time which is located at my domain name xyz.com. I want to expand said blog to include an online shop selling handmade products. I have a logo for XYZ which includes a tag line ‘handcrafted accessories’.

    I will be trading as a sole trader under my name. I will be accepting paypal payments under my name and making business purchases under my own name. I will be branding my products by way of a small hang tag that has the aforementioned logo. Do I need to register XYZ as a business/trading name? If I do have to, do I need to include the ‘handcrafted accessories’ in the business name registration?

    #1111746
    Kennethti
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    I have answered this question before in one of my handy blogs.

    http://www.trademark-lawyer.com.au/2010278/dont-get-confused-business-names-and-trade-marks

    But generally the difference between a business name and a brand is this:

    • A business name is a registration of your declaration that you are trading in a different name.
    • A brand, which can be registered as a trade mark, is a mark showing the origin of the product or services, and by extension, the goodwill and quality contained in the product or services.

    As long as you identify yourself to the customer at the point of sale, on your receipts, or before you sell to the customer, it doesn’t matter what the name of the product is. For example, “Sprite” isn’t a registered business name, it is a brand which is owned by Coca Cola Amatil (Aust) Pty Ltd.

    You may however want to protect your brand through trade marking and I suspect that Jacqui will show up soon.

    #1111747
    harvcam
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    Thanks for the fast response!

    Hmm ok. I have been toying with the idea of selling some of my creations for over a year now and want to associate the ‘brand’ of my current blog with my products. The issue I have is that when I last checked early this year the name was not registered in NSW. However, since the business name register has now gone national, I can no longer register the name as it is already registered in Victoria. (kicking self for not doing this earlier!)

    So as long as I have my name somewhere on the website/shop and on all receipts and paperwork it should be ok. Maybe I should consider changing the tag line on the logo to ‘by Melissa C….’

    #1111748
    Kennethti
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    Like I said, a brand is a brand and a business name is a business name. Your business name can be your brand, for sure, but if your brand is stepping on someone else’s business name, then you might be starting to go into dangerous territory. It’s not that you can’t do it, but you’re going to risk someone being unhappy with what you’ve done and that may be more trouble than it’s worth.

    I would also recommend you do a trade marks search through ATMOSS, to check if your brand does not step on anyone else’s toes. If it does, then you might have to go through a re-branding exercise.

    #1111749
    harvcam
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    ATMOSS returns no results for the name.

    The person who has registered the name doesn’t even appear to be using it. Did a google search on them and they are trading under a completely different name.

    #1111750
    TheGoldenGoose
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    I always recommend that you have a professional perform the trademark searches for you.

    Can I also mention there is a huge difference between a brand and a logo. Your logo is a visual extension of your brand. Your brand is your business’ personality, an experience or a set of values with consistent messages. A logo is a visually consistent message.

    Hope the above have answered your questions thoroughly, if you’re still confused feel free to email me for a chat :)

    #1111751
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi there… Took me a bit longer to chime in than Kenneth indicated ;)

    I think Kenneth has pretty much answered everything already – but, if it helps:

    So as long as I have my name somewhere on the website/shop and on all receipts and paperwork it should be ok. Maybe I should consider changing the tag line on the logo to ‘by Melissa C….’

    Think about it from your customers point of view – who do they believe they are doing business with? If a visitor came along to your website, would they believe they are doing business with you personally, or with the ‘brand name’?

    If consumers believe they are doing business with ‘brand name’ then I would suggest its safest to register that as a business name. To be trading by your own name it needs to be pretty clear that you are in fact the ‘business entity’.

    You could register the business name to include by Melissa C or similar and also design your logo to incorporate the full name. Or the logo could be the ‘main’ element that you are using to brand your products, so long as on your website and paperwork etc it was clear that the business is ‘brand name by Melissa C’.

    Hope that helps?

    I also offer a free trademark search (see link in signature) if you’re interested or unsure about the search you’ve conducted yourself in ATMOSS. Of course I would think this – but, registering your ‘brand’ or logo as a trademark really is the ‘safest’ way to protect yourself, as it’s the only registration that actually gives you the right to use the name/logo etc – business name and company registration doesn’t actually do this believe it or not!

    All the best :)

    #1111752
    DavidM
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    Just to get the right terminology,

    Business or company name: what you’re legally registered as

    Brand name: the name that customers know you as (can be the same as above)

    Branding: how you communicate; tone, colors, personality

    Logo: a visual design of you brand name

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