As with a business name, a domain name can't be relied upon to stop another trader from using the same or a similar name.
In Australia, the most popular domain for businesses is the ".com.au" domain, and a registration of it as a domain name must be based upon (or derived from) a registered business name or a company name - for instance, 'allens.com.au' is derived from the business name of Allens. A domain name cannot be based upon a trade mark (whether registered or unregistered), though this may change in the future.
Only one domain name may be obtained for each company name or registered business name. A company with more than one registered business name can get separate domain name registrations for each of its business names. You cannot rely upon a domain name registration to stop another trader from using the same or a similar name (for instance, as a trade mark).
A trade mark registration, on the other hand, confers strong legal rights enforceable against other traders who use, or seek to register, the same or a similar trade mark in respect of the same or similar goods or services. So it is generally worth considering seeking trade mark registration as well as registering a domain name.
You can register a domain name as a trade mark, but there are criteria to be met. We can advise you on the suitability of your domain name for registration as a trade mark, and can help you register both trade marks and domain names.
Our associated law firm Allens operates in alliance with Linklaters LLP.