Well, unfortunately it appears we have royally screwed up
Due to inexperience in business on our part, our business name Remember This Photography was never registered. It was registered as a Sole Trader 5 years ago under Brett's name, with "Remember This Photography" listed as the Trading Name. Was under the assumption it was registered, not aware it had to be registered elsewhere.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, got a phone call from a potential client who said we did a photoshoot for a friend of theirs and they wanted one also. We never did the shoot for their friend and could not understand where the confusion was. We got a similar phone call on Sunday, so we thought we should look into it a bit further.
Today we discovered a business has set itself up in a neighbouring suburb (as in like 10 mins from here) using our name about 6 months ago. Looking further into it, we find out that they have registered our name with ASIC which we failed to do, and therefore the name now belongs to them, even though we have been trading as this name for the last 5 years. They can potentially sue us for using our own business name.
From what we can establish, we now must change our business name. If anyone on here knows anything about if there are other possibilities legally, we would love to hear from you.
We are looking for opinions now, on what we should change our name to. The way we see it, we have two options:
Change the name to something very similar, as we are currently more established than them under that name (for example, Remember This Photography Sydney or Remember This Photography and Video (as we have been doing some video work as well))
Change the name completely, re-vamp website and create a whole new image. We would keep our domain names for a little while to redirect current clients to the new one and state "Formerly Known as Remember This Photography". We would attempt to notify all past clients of the name change.
So, what would you do?