Online Business and Legal Landmines

Online Business and Legal Landmines – What to Watch Out For

Doing business online is full of opportunities. Access to a national (or international) audience, the ability to augment your ‘offline’ offering and an efficient way to spend your advertising and marketing dollars are all form ticks in the ‘pros’ column.

But while the ‘cons’ are limited, there are some basic tips and legal considerations to be aware of when you’re thinking about online business. Knowing them can help you plan properly and hopefully be aware of any avoidable (but potentially expensive) mistakes that could be made.

Intellectual Property (IP) – Domain Names

IP in online business is most likely to be your domain name, which is also known as your ‘web address’. A few things to note – just because you have registered a business name with a regulator, or even if you have a company, that doesn’t mean that you have any ‘right’ to the same web address.

So if your business is called Sunrise Furniture, and your registered company name is the same, there is nothing stopping another company buying the domain name ‘sunrisefurniture.com.au’. A competitor could even buy the domain name then redirect anyone who clicked on it to their own website, potentially costing you a customer.

In Australia domain names are ‘rented’ rather than ‘owned’. That also means that you’ll want to keep on top of when any renewals are due to avoid any dramas with re-registering a name if it lapses.

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