What's in a Name? Nothing if it already belongs to someone else.
Identity is at the heart of all good brand stories. A strong identity is what we use to convey our brand values to our customers. It is how we define ourselves and how we stand out from competitors. Lose your identity and you become no-one. Confuse your identity and you become someone else.
So often a brand story begins with a name - and preferably a good one. But once you come up with one, how do you know it's unique to you?
If you are a New Zealand-based business who is simply looking to ensure your name is not in conflict with anyone elses, there is a free service called ONE check at www.Business.govt.nz/onecheck which will tell you if you can reserve a company name, domain name and whether a trademark exists.
The most obvious and quickest check available these days is an Internet Search.
Thoroughly search Google.co.nz and also Google.com. You can also try a web domain search through www.freeparking.co.nz or www.discountdomains.co.nz. It's a good start but by no means a definitive test.
If your business is only going to focus on New Zealand then you'll be looking to secure .co.nz domains. But at the same time it pays to check that other prefix users arent going to cause you grief eg .com, .net, .kiwi, .org etc ,etc.
If you are intending to build and take your brand to a larger audience - particularly internationally, then the issue just got a lot more complex - and a lot more expensive.
You really need the services of an expert and specialist in intellectual property protection who can not only advise you on areas of potential conflict but also manage the process of legal protection and international trademarking.