I had a member of my team email me a few days ago. She was concerned because a name she had registered, seemed to have someone else operating under the same name in another state. She wanted to know what to do? Further they both appear to have purchased the same domain name (?).
My response to her was this:
Hi, always frustrating when this happens regarding business names, however, there is no reason why you can’t continue to use it.
Legally speaking (in Australia) you can register a business name in your own state that is the same name as a business in another state, but with the internet these days that can cause confusion, especially if you’re running an internet based business. I am concerned though, that you think you’ve purchased the same domain that someone else reportedly has. That can’t happen so there must be a mistake there – either she has a .com or perhaps you have? Or a different ending? There is just no way in the world you both can have purchased the same domain – unless the registrar is running some kind of shonkey. So that needs sorting out.
If she hasn’t been operating long you could probably get away applying for a Trademark (assuming no-one else has already) and therefore claim full legal ownership of the name. My name is trademarked, and my logo, and my byline. You have to police your own trademarks (I use Google Alert to help me) but generally people won’t touch a name if they know it’s trademarked. You can send them a letter based on information from the Tradesmarks Office (I’ve had to a couple of times) and then follow up with a letter from a solicitor if they do not stop using your business name. But this is of course, only once you’ve got it trademarked.
I further advised the team member to contact her Domain Registrar and confirm she has definitely bought that domain – perhaps the other lady has made a mistake in the article that was published online, or perhaps she hadn’t bought it yet, but planned to – in which case she’ll get a shock when she finds it’s not available. KMT