Ashley Geelan went orgasmic this month when he discovered that a local library had copies of his school newspaper from the early 1990s.
Geelan compared the discovery to having sex.
Ashley thought this inconsequential find, from 25 years ago, gave him exclusive world-wide rights to the name ‘Vic News’ in 2019.
Whilst Geelan was having his first smoke of marijuana behind the classrooms at age 14, all the other kids were in Legal Studies class to learn how it actually works in the real business world.
Yet again, Geelan is wrong. Another Geelan 101 fail.
To secure intellectual property rights to a name, one discreetly makes a trade mark application with IP Australia, then they register the business name with ASIC. This costs important beer money. The law grants no special privileges to school newspaper names.
Geelan ignored simple Business 101 principles, and announced to the world that he would be using that Vic News name from January 1, 2020.
No, he will not, the name has been already registered in someone else’s name.
Geelan is legally disqualified from use of the name. If he uses the name, it is called “passing off”, which is against federal law. His project is illegal before it starts.
The name vicnews.com.au was registered earlier this week to a Kinglake local, not Ashley Geelan.
“The law requires that a party carrying on a business using a name must register that name, unless it is the party’s individual name, a registered company name or the full name of a partnership. Having an unregistered business name is a breach of the Business Names Registration Act 2011,” says the ASIC website.
“You may become concerned if you have contracted with a business for goods or services and then found out that the business is unregistered, or if you are a small business owner and you have become aware that another business is using an unregistered business name.”
“If we receive information that someone is operating under an unregistered business name, we may write to the business to remind them of their obligations to register the business name and, in some cases, we may take further regulatory action. Generally, we will only take action if we have concerns about other unlawful conduct, or when the business has a history of failing to meet their obligations under the law.”
Given that Geelan is already illegally using the business name ‘Kinglake Ranges News’ (which is actually owned by the Mountain Monthly Co-Operative Ltd), it is unlikely that ASIC will show any lenience to Geelan over further breaches of the important laws relating to business names.
More official knocks on the door might be expected at Geelan’s shared home at <Address redacted, Ed.>, Reservoir.
Government law enforcement authorities are requested to form an orderly queue.