Registering your Business Name

Registering your Business Name

You don’t need to register your business name or trade name but you can apply to register a name with The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ.govt.nz). Registering the name may help prevent others from using it and will assert your rights to the name if it is challenged by a competitor.

However, you can only register distinctive trade names or trademarks. For example, you could call your business “IT Professionals” but you would not be able to trademark the name. If you designed a unique logo using the words IT Professionals, then the logo could be trademarked as it would be distinctive enough that a competitor would have to copy it to use it, rather than inadvertently describing themselves as IT professionals.

If you trade through a company, no one else will be able to form a company with the identical, or nearly identical, name. You could call your company IT Professionals Limited, providing there is no other registered company in NZ with that name. A competitor cannot then call themselves IT Professionals Limited, but they could still describe themselves as IT professionals.

Most small businesses will choose a business name without registering it with IPONZ. However, it is worth checking the register at www.iponz.govt.nz to make sure you are not likely to be using a name protected by someone else in your industry or a related industry.

Another consideration is reserving the domain name for your business.

You can check whether a name is available as a company name, trade name and domain name by searching at https://www.business.govt.nz/onecheck/. The site also contains useful information on protecting your Intellectual Property.

Contact Robb with any questions.