Image of red car with personalised number plate.
7 May 2020

In early 2019, Personalised Plates Queensland (PPQ), in conjunction with the State Government, gave Queenslanders the option to add a message (‘caption’) to their personalised number plate.

Managing the risk of unintentionally using an existing brand was paramount to the organisation and the Queensland Government. “Creating a valuable product, while ensuring our customers' unique number plates don’t infringe existing brands was a critical decision point for our business” said Taylor Clifford, General Manager, PPQ.

Opportunity – accessing government trade mark data

PPQ reached out to IP Australia in search of an innovative solution, expressing the need to be able to search the Australian trademark database to cross-check potential plate content against registered trademarks. Access to real-time data at low cost was essential to keep PPQ’s business model efficient while minimising risk.

IP Australia saw the opportunity to implement the TradeMark Search API (Application Program Interface) giving PPQ the ability to build its own interface that performs custom searching against the government trademark register.

“Staff can now use our software to search for potential trademark infringement and notify our customers before they commit to a purchase. This all happens in real time, allowing efficient cross-checking during the application process at little cost to PPQ, other than the initial software development. It’s a win for everyone involved” said Ms Clifford.

Looking to the future

Following the success of the first implementation, PPQ is looking to transition to a model where the customer performs the trademark database search during the online application process before they submit their request for a personalised plate.

IP Australia continues to work with PPQ to further develop the capabilities of the search API and more advanced search techniques, such as within phrase searching.

Advice and how to get involved

Like to know more about IP Australia’s APIs? Get in touch by sending us an enquiry on