Guide

Protecting intellectual property

Protecting your business name and domain name

Your business name is the most basic intellectual property (IP) asset you have. It could also be the most important. Your business' reputation is tied up with its name so you don't want somebody else trading on it.

If the name of your business is distinctive to the goods and services you provide, you may be able to take legal action against anyone using it in the same or a similar field.

You will get additional legal protection if you register the name as a trade mark.

If you want to set up a website for your business you will probably want to register a domain name incorporating your business name, or any trade marks you have.

Business name vs domain name

It's important to recognise that having a trade mark doesn't give you an automatic right to a domain name incorporating your trade mark. Someone may have already registered the domain name you want for the same or different goods and services.

Find out more about the differences between domain names and trade marks.

You may be able to take legal action if you think:

  • someone is using a domain name to pass off their goods and services as yours
  • someone has taken out your trade mark as a domain name just to sell it back to you

Read more on domain name and trade mark conflicts.