Naming your baby… legally

Start-up businesses are some of our favourite people and projects – we are always pumped to hear about the innovative ideas that kiwis get up to, turning side hustles into main hustles and the like.

But in the middle of discussions about colour palettes and social media promotions and making that poster for your expo next month, it’s easy to overlook some of the nitty gritty factors like IP and domain names. Checking in with an IP lawyer is going to be your best bet to ensure your brand new brand name is safe from any legal troubles, but before sitting down with them here’s a bit of background homework that might help you:

1// Onecheck is your best friend
Onecheck is an IP monitoring one-stop-shop set up by the NZ Ministry of Business that simultaneously checks any brand name for New Zealand business directories, registered trademarks, domain names and social media handles. It’s made start-ups and their suppliers (like us)’s lives SO much easier. They deserve all the kudos.

2// You can generally share names if you’re in a different industry sector
As at April 2020, “Husk” renders 39 results under Onecheck – all of these are safe as they are under different industries or have variations in their naming conventions. Aside from our own “Husk Limited” (under the web/design services industry) there are entries such as “Husk Home” (under store-based retail) and “Husk Bar” (under coffee manufacturing) – so no worries for being twinsies by name, not by nature.

3// Consider unique words
We know this suggestion might get us into trouble somewhere down the line — there’s a limit to how “edgy” a name can be, to the point of illegibility. But companies like Fedex, Adidas, Kodak are all easy to spell, pronounce and are memorable – gun for those kind of attributes. The good thing about unique names is that it’s much harder for people to confuse you with another business and, assuming users can actually spell it, it will pay dividends in your Google searches and rankings.

4// Don’t forget about social media
Even if you may not clash names with another New Zealand business, it’s much easier to clash with Facebook and Instagram handles, since basically anyone can make a Facebook or Insta page for free - on that, here’s an article on why you should have both to boost your business. Consider adding “nz” or “akl” to the end of your handle to narrow the scope. Eg. your domain name might be heebeejeebies.co.nz while your Facebook and Insta handles are /heebeejeebies_nz – easy peasy.

For more info, including how to reserve a company name online, check out this link. If you need any help brainstorming up some punny names for your business or campaign, or registering domain names - then do get in touch. This stuff is our jam.


Written by Katie Che on 19.5.2020