The Anzac brand: a national heirloom more precious than gold

The word ‘Anzac’ has always held great power. Its use is strictly protected in recognition of it's importance to Australians and New Zealanders.

Anzac Day commemorates the Australian and New Zealand forces that landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on 25 April 1915 during World War I.

This day is an opportunity to remember and honour the service stories passed down through generations. Their stories give insights into how innovation and businesses adapted to the times. The creative ingenuity witnessed on the battlefront has become a part of what has been commonly labelled the ‘Anzac spirit’, the characterisation of those that served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps as inherently resourceful and innovative. In addition to the soldiers enlisted to combat, the women of World War I encapsulated the Anzac spirit through their contributions to the war effort including active service as nurses, arranging wartime charities, fundraising, and packing parcels for the Australian servicemen.

The many trade marks registered and advertisements published during World War I show the products of the time were integral to the war effort. This idea has been portrayed as an illustration of an Australian ‘national character,’ and this belief in the inventiveness of Australians remains entrenched to this day, over 100 years after the war.

Protecting the Anzac legacy

In 1920, the Government introduced laws which prohibited the use of the word ‘Anzac’ in connection with any trade, business, calling or profession to stop those benefitting from the word commercially, in recognition of the importance of the word to Australians and New Zealanders.

Despite this legislation, businesses still appropriated the idea of the Anzac soldier. This was to create a sense that their products and brand somehow possessed the same qualities as these soldiers. The penalties for misusing the word ‘Anzac’ under the Crimes Act 1914 meant individuals could be charged a penalty, or for more serious breaches, jail time could be served.

Today, the same legislative protection of the word ‘Anzac’ applies if you intend to use the word in any formal, official, entertainment or commercial capacity. Penalties for breaching the Protection of the word ‘Anzac’ Regulations 1921 under the Crimes Act 1914 still stand.

Under our Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), trade marks will be rejected if they are contrary to law. This includes the laws enacted to protect the word 'Anzac' and means that any trade mark containing the word 'Anzac' or any word resembling it will be refused registration without Ministerial permission to use the word.

How to request permission to use 'Anzac'

The only exception to this rule is when the applicant provides written permission from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs to use this word. The application for approval to use the word ‘Anzac’ form is available to download from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). You can submit your application via email to