About trade marks

Two IP Australia staff members having a discussion at their desk

A trade mark is a way of identifying a unique product or service and it can be your most valuable marketing tool. Sometimes called a brand, your trade mark is your identity - the way you show your customers who you are. There is a difference between trade marks, business, company and domain names.

A trade mark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any combination of these.

An example of a well-known trade mark is QANTAS and the flying kangaroo.

Before you apply, consider:

The purpose of a trade mark

A trade mark is used to distinguish your goods and services from someone else's and is enforceable under IP law.

For example, the Lonely Planet ® logo is a registered trade mark for travel guides. This protects the owner from other businesses using the Lonely Planet trade mark.

Registering a trade mark

There are many benefits of registering a trade mark, however, you don't have to register your trade mark to use it. There is protection against misrepresentation under trade practices or fair trading legislation, however without registration, it can be expensive and time consuming to take action under common law.

How long does a trade mark last?

A trade mark can have an infinite life representing significant business value.

How do you get a trade mark?

You need to apply by filing an application with us. We will examine your application to see if it meets legislative requirements. Depending on your projected market, you may want to apply for protection overseas.

Last Updated: 23/11/2013

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Master of Business Administration

Assistant Director International Policy & Cooperation since 2005
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