Last updated: 
3 July 2017

Welcome to Australian Trade Mark Search. This video series will help you find relevant results when conducting a search for Australian trade marks.

This can help you determine if there is a pending application or registration that is similar to your own that is trading in the same or similar goods or services to yours.

Before we start a trade mark search you should ask yourself;

What is your trade mark? Is it a word, image or a combination of both?

A trade mark is a sign that can include words, phrases, movement, sound, images, even smells or a combination of these elements.

A trade mark identifies a product or service from those of other traders. A good trade mark distinguishes your business from those of others.

Sometimes referred to as a brand, it can help your customers distinguish your product or service over that of similar traders.

What should you look for when you search?

To do a comprehensive search you need to find trade marks that are both similar to your own and exactly the same.

A trade mark search should locate trade marks identical or similar to your own. Another trade mark may be an obstacle to the registration of your trade mark if all of the following apply.

It is substantially identical or deceptively similar to your proposed trade mark.

It covers goods or services which are similar or closely related to your own goods and services.

It has an earlier filing date than your application.

Are you applying for a business name?

A common misconception is that a trade mark is the same thing as a registration for a business name, company name, domain name or even a design. It is not.

We do not issue company or business names. That is done by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Domain names are issued by private Internet companies and registered by the .au Domain Administration.

When do you know that my trade mark has been accepted for registration?

After you submit your application you will be given a priority date. Your application will then be examined and you will have the opportunity to address and resolve any issues. Once the trade mark is accepted, if no oppositions are received, the trade mark can then be registered.

You must actively use your trade mark in the course of trade. If you do not, an application can be made to remove it from the register on the grounds of non-use.

Anyone may apply for removal of a trade mark for non-use.

We provide this course of action to discourage people or companies from unfairly registering multiple trade marks simply to stop other traders from using them.

The use it or lose it approach to trade marks is one good reason to keep your details with us up-to-date. If your trade mark is officially opposed by someone, we will send you a notice and you can defend your trade mark's removal.

How long does a trade mark last?

Your trade mark registration lasts for ten years from its filing date.

You can renew your trade mark registration between 12 months before the renewal is due, or up to six months after. You will need to pay extra fees if you renew after the due date.

We will send you a renewal reminder, so it is important that you let us know in writing of any address changes.

Now you know the basics, you can start searching!

Exploring the system is a good idea to develop your searching skills, but be aware that even if you believe the results are 'OK' you should not assume that your trade mark can be registered and will not face an objection.

We cannot provide you with specific advice about the trade mark you should apply for or in which classes.

If you require information that is tailored to your business needs, you may need to consider approaching an IP Professional.

Watch this video on YouTube.