A trade mark is anything that you use as a “badge of origin” for your business to differentiate your goods and/or services from your competitors.
It can be a business name, logo, tag-line, slap-line, by-line, derivative product, method, shape, type of packaging, sound, scent or colour. It can also be a combination of these, such as a logo containing your business name and tag-line. These are called composite marks.
The trade mark registration in Australia is conducted through IP Australia – a Government entity. After the application is filed, it usually takes around 7 months currently from the date of filing to obtain final trade mark registration, however you obtain protection from the filing date which doesn’t take long. Some applicants may choose the standard application process, which brings you a report after 2 to 3 months from filing currently. However, we prefer applying through the headstart application process, which brings a report back within 5 to 10 business days. That report will provide you with a very good indication as to whether your mark is more likely to be accepted by IP Australia to proceed to registration.
The process is as follows:
1. Filing of the trade mark headstart application in your classes of activity;
2. If all clear, we proceed to the part 2 of the application and then receive a notice of filing;
3. Your mark will be formally examined by IP Australia;
4. You’ll receive a notice of acceptance;
5. Your mark will be advertised on the register for 2 months;
6. If no-one opposes your mark within that time frame, a Certificate of Registration will be issued.
It’s important to know that IP Australia’s fees can’t be refunded in case the application doesn’t proceed through to registration. Also, you can’t amend the classes or activities to broaden the scope of the application once your application is filed, so it’s really important to get it right the first time.
There are chances that your mark won’t be accepted by IP Australia depending on whether it’s too descriptive, too broad or likely to be needed by other traders in the classes and activities, not capable of distinguishing etc. We’ve seen so many businesses applying for trade marks on their own and getting stuck when adverse reports had been issued and wasted their money. Here are some examples of why your trade mark might not be accepted:
We recommend 5 searches to businesses before applying for a trade mark. You should do these searches before even using a newly selected business name, tag-line or product name.
1. General Google search: have a look through pages and see if anyone is using this name, slap-line or by-line (even if not in your industry);
2. ABN LookUp search, on the Australian Business Register: see if anyone is using this particular business name, company name, or product name;
3. ASIC search: sometimes, we find that results vary between ABN LookUp and ASIC, so it’s best to check both;
4. Trade Mark search: we can do a quick or advanced search, to see if another business offers the same services or products, and is likely to oppose the mark;
5. Social Media handles: check all relevant social media handles you can think of and see if they’re available.
We know that you’re busy and it my be overwhelming to find similar brands to yours while doing those searches. Don’t worry, there’s almost always a solution. Fill out the contact form to get our expertise and make sure your brand is properly protected at the best costs.
Contact us today if you require any assistance with Trade Marks.
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