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Business name Vs company registration to protect domain name?

Discussion in 'Business & Startup Investing' started by Gato15, 19th Nov, 2009.

  1. Gato15

    Gato15 Member

    Joined:
    19th Nov, 2009
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    Vic
    Hi,

    Let me paint the scenario before I ask all the my question regarding domain name registration and what is legal and not in order to safeguard my business and the website domain name.

    Say my company is XYZ Pty Ltd and has an ACN, which means I can just go and register my domain as XYZ.Com.Au if not already taken.

    However, I wish to make my domain name a bit more catchy and decide I would like to name it perhaps 'xyzindustries.com.au' or 'xyzsolutions.com.au'.

    Questions:
    1. Can I just go and register those catchy domains names if not taken and assume all is ok, additionally do I also need to register the business(trading) name in my state(Vic) to protect from being used by someone else?

    2. If those domain names were not registered as trading names by me, do I risk losing it and can someone else just freely claim or take it off me if they decide to go and register a Company name of exactly the same name eg. 'xyzindustries pty ltd?

    3. Is getting a business(trading) name registered enough to safeguard against Joe Blogg coming from Qld and registering a company name of the same name through ASIC? ..which would mean I can't use xyzindustries

    My 3 questions are kind of inter related, however, the key is how do I safely protect what I register today as a domain name and not risk losing it or claimed by another person tomorrow?

    Anyone had any bad experiences with domain names or got any expert advise on this topic from a legal and protection point of views?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 19th Nov, 2009
  2. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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    Location:
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    All you need to be able to register a .com.au domain name is a ACN or ABN or BN for an existing business. You are supposed to only use a domain name that is closely associated with your business - but that can mean any number of things. As a web development company, I register any .com.au domain name I like using my business ACN - I've never had a problem.

    Business names are only guaranteed to be unique within the state they are registered - there's nothing stopping someone in a different state from registering a business with the same name. I believe there is also no concept of "ownership" of a name simply by having registered a business name.

    As far as I am concerned, owning a company or business does not give you a right to a particular domain name. It is very much first-come-first-served.

    There are some issues with trademarked names - ie if you were to register telstraonline.com.au, I'm sure Telstra would have a problem with that, and rightly so (indeed, they did challenge exactly this just recently, and won). Even then, it is still a grey area, as I'm sure all the Mr. and Mrs. McDonald's of the world would tell you.

    I believe there is also the concept of existing usage - if your business has been operating for a while under a particular name or is widely known using a particular name, you have more rights to that name than someone else coming along later and trying to force you to change your name due to trademark infringement or otherwise.

    The only way to guarantee you can register a domain name is to register it first - don't rely on being able to take it away from someone else. The onus will be on you to prove that you have a right to that name and the person who registered it doesn't - not always easy to achieve.

    Of course, just registering a name is not enough to guarantee you that someone else can't then take it away from you - it's far more complicated than that - you would need to look at trademarks and how the name is being used and much more.

    It starts to get into the area of intellectual property / trademark law and such - you need a lawyer to help you navigate through that minefield, and they don't come cheap.

    Here is some information on the auDA dispute resolution policy:

    auDA > auDRP > .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP)

    Here is a list of past proceedings and details of the decision and resolution:

    auDA > auDRP > auDRP Proceedings Archive

    In particular, the full text of the decision about the adelaidecasino.com.au domain name from last month is quite interesting and informative about the process - http://www.auda.org.au/document.php?documentid=1137

    In summary - if you want advice on how to protect the names you use, you need an IP lawyer.

    Here is some more information:

    Resolving Domain Name Disputes in Australia

     
  3. Gato15

    Gato15 Member

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    Thanks Sim,

    That was an excellent post.

    I have checked out the links provided and makes it a lot more clear now.

    Looks like trademark at the end of the will be a good safeguard but will come at a cost which is fine.
    ++++++++
    Shopping cart & webhost: Just a side question, I am looking at a good/reliable webhost & shopping cart s/w for online business also, would you have any recommendations or suggestions on using a reliable service provider.?

    I know there are some free shopping carts out there and I could attempt to do it myself, but time is a competing factor and to ensure I keep my focus on developing and starting up the business I would consider someone either guiding or doing it for me.
     
  4. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Co-founder Staff Member

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  5. Chris C

    Chris C Well-Known Member

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    I used to use a mob called ashop - Shopping Cart Software Solutions by Ashop - back in 2005 - 2006. They were like a one stop shop for a quick and easy ecommerce setup. They were pretty good for what was available back then. I'm not sure how they go by today's standards
     
  6. Gato15

    Gato15 Member

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    Thanks Chris.

    I've had a quick look at Ashop. Not bad...but a bit expensive now.

    I've looked at a few web host features and a lot of come standard with the fantastico package which include Cubecart, Oscommerce and Zencart which are all free carts.

    I guess the only way to find out if these free packages are any good by buying the hosting services.

    I am concious of the fact if I go with these free packages I will end up doing it myself or hiring someone to do it for me and hopefully doesn't end up costing more in the long run.

    Anyone had experience or using Interspire? It seems to be easy to use & setup, however, it doesn't come with the marketing component and is an extra. Also I hear it doesn't link up with aust post and eway gateway very well...I am still checking this out.
     
  7. Chris C

    Chris C Well-Known Member

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    To be completely honest, I think it is cheaper now than it was back in 2005. I got a feeling I was paying $200/month...

    I'm not saying you shoudl go with ashop, to be honest I have no idea what the best shopping cart software is these days, but when it comes to running a business on the web I wouldn't be trying to pinch too many pennies, because at the end of the day $20 here and there won't make or break your business - but a website constantly being down, is poorly SEOed, has a badly setup PPC campaign, poor web design that doesn't covert, etc - these are all things that WILL cripple your online business in the long run.

    I consult to my father's business in regards to his internet marketing and online strategies, and I'm constantly repeating these words "stop being such a tightass - you get what you pay for" because the reality of the web is that just having a website isn't enough, it needs to be well marketed and well optimised for conversions - but like most things in life you have to pay a few extra dolars for top quality service but spending a few extra dollars at the outset will pay for themselves a hundred times over in the long run.

    Hiring people in Australia definitely isn't cheap ($100/hr), and when it comes to getting a site design you really want to know what your doing, because site that can look virtually the same can perform dramatically differently, and often the site that looks the best performs the worst if asthetic have been traded off for SEO and conversion optimsation (which is often the case).

    Don't quote me on this but I also think one of the drawbacks of interspire might be that when they upgrade their software you need to pay for the upgrade then install it yourself...

    That said I remember the owner of interspire, Mitch, used to be reasonably prominent guy in the internet marketing arena which is always a good thing when it comes to any software development because internet marketing is such a critical factor in any online success, and for the most part I hear reasonably good thigns about his software products in general. Plus I'm pretty sure they are local mob which is always a bonus.