The Difference: Business Names, Company Names and Trademarks

What's in a Name


Understanding Business Names, Company Names, and Trademarks

Often, SMEs we assist with business name registration or company incorporation ask whether registering these names also provides them with trademark protection.

Let’s clear up the confusion.

Breaking Down the Terms

1. Business Name: Registered to identify a business operating under a name other than that of the owner.
2. Company Name: The official name of a legal entity.
3. Trademark: Registered to identify and protect a product or service, granting exclusive rights to its use.

Key Difference

Registering a business or company name does not automatically grant trademark rights.  In Papua New Guinea, trademarks must be registered separately to secure exclusive rights for use in relation to specific goods or services.

Why Register a Trademark?

If you only register a business name or company name, you might encounter issues if another party holds a registered trademark for a similar name. To avoid potential legal conflicts and costs, conducting due diligence and seeking professional legal advice is essential.

Value of Trademarks

Remember, a trademark is an intellectual property that holds intangible value. A business or company name without trademark registration lacks this added protection and value.

Given that business name registration, company incorporation and trademark registration come under the IPA one would think that there would be cross checking of the name applications. In my experience it doesn’t happen. These are separate registers and it is your responsibility to check each register as part of your due diligence.

Tip: Ensure your business name or company name is also a registered trademark to safeguard your brand and intellectual property effectively.

Feel free to reach out if you need more information on this topic! Email [email protected] or visit our Corporate Services Hub

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