Trading names and corporation/company formation policy
Intent and objectives
This policy outlines the University’s requirements for registration of trading names and membership of corporations, partnerships and joint ventures.
- when a Business Name, Trademark or otherwise may be registered or used;
- the conditions under which the University may enter into certain commercial relationships
It applies where it is proposed that the University or any of its controlled entities:
- form or become a member of a corporation (including a company) or an unincorporated partnership or joint venture;
- register a Business Name; or
- register a Trade Mark
The University conducts business under two names:
- “Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology” the name given to the University under its establishing legislation. This is the name which should be used in contractual and other formal documentation involving the University.
- “RMIT University” the registered Business Name of the University. This name is also registered as a Trade Mark which incorporates the University’s distinctive pixel.
As the University conducts its business under the above names, it should not ordinarily be necessary for any other trading name (whether a Business Name, Trade Mark or otherwise) to be registered or used for the conduct of University business. The conduct of business by the University through a trading name (whether a Business Name, Trade Mark or otherwise) does not create a legal entity separate from the University itself.
The University may seek to become a shareholder or member of a corporation (including a company) or to become party to an unincorporated joint venture or partnership for the purposes of a business or venture conducted in conjunction with other persons. In such circumstances:
- where the University becomes a member or shareholder of a corporation (such as an incorporated Co-operative Research Centre), that corporation operates as a distinct legal entity separate from the University, and conducts business in its own right.
- where the University enters into an unincorporated joint venture or partnership, the venture is not a separate legal entity
The University may sometimes incorporate a wholly owned subsidiary company for the purpose of particular aspects of the University’s business, (eg; RMIT Training Pty Ltd) although the circumstances in which it is desirable to do so are limited. University subsidiary companies are separate legal entities and conduct business in their own right.
The fact that a School, Centre, Institute or other group within the University may be known by a particular name does not create a legal entity separate from the University, and nor does it create any requirement to register that name (whether as a Business Name, Trade Mark or otherwise). The business conducted within the relevant School, Centre, Institute or other group is conducted by the University under the registered names of the University.
The registration of a Business Name for the purposes of University business is neither necessary nor desirable. If a Business Name is required, it must be authorised in accordance with the Trading Names and Corporation/Company Procedure.
The registration of a Business Name does not of itself afford any intellectual property protection or create other proprietary rights in respect of the name.
Trade names and marks
As the services provided by the University in its business operations are provided under the University’s own trading names (including its Trade Mark), it is not necessary for another Trade Mark to be registered in order to identify or distinguish the particular service provided.
In situations where a discrete product is developed by the University which may have commercial value (eg; computer software or other intellectual property), there may be commercial advantage in identifying that product with a distinctive name or logo and registering the name or logo as a Trade Mark. (The effect of such registration is that no other person would be able to use a similar Trade Mark in respect of similar products which they might produce.) If a Trade Mark is required, it must be authorised in accordance with the Trading Names and Corporation/Company Procedure.
Membership in corporations and joint ventures
The University may in certain situations seek to be come a shareholder or member of a corporation (including a company) or to become party to an unincorporated joint venture or partnership conducted in conjunction with other persons (eg; an incorporated Co-Operative Research Centre)
Membership/shareholding in a corporation (whether a wholly-owned subsidiary or otherwise) or entry into a joint venture requires the approval of the University Council under the provisions of Section 39 of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Act 1992 (see Trading Names and Corporation/Company Procedure).[Next: Supporting documents and information]