Thinking with trade marks

Are you aware that some trade marks are difficult to register?

A trade mark will be easier to register, if it is something other traders do not commonly use, and are not likely to need to use.
A trade mark will be more difficult to register if it is something that other traders commonly use or are likely to need to use.
By asking yourself the following 11 questions it may help you to choose a trade mark that is able to set you apart.

Is your trade mark a surname?

If your trade mark is a surname shared by many other Australians, then it may be difficult to register. Other traders, especially if trading in common goods and or services, should also be able to use their surname.

  • Yes 2
  • No 3

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • Abbott Lawyers for solicitors services
  • Smith Workshop for automotive repairs

Abbott and Smith are more common Australian surnames.

Examples that are less likely to be used for the goods and services claimed:

  • Howman for retail of clothing
  • Giugni for stationery
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Does your trade mark describe your goods or services?

If your trade mark describes your goods or services, or their quality or intended purpose, then it may be difficult to register. It is also difficult to register words that are already being used by other traders. Other traders of the same goods or services should be able to use those words.

  • Yes 4
  • No 5

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • Self-Sharpening for kitchen knives
  • Youthful for anti-aging cream

Examples of trade marks that other traders are less likely to need to use for the goods and services claimed:

  • Leopard for cosmetics
  • Volvano for the installation of pools and spas
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Does your trade mark use suggestive words?

If your trade mark is a suggestive word that is commonly used with the goods or services you are claiming, then it may be difficult to register. Other traders should be able to use these words.

  • Yes6
  • No7

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • Innovative Architecture for architectural services
  • Sexy for lingerie

Examples of trade marks that other traders are less likely to need to use for the goods and services claimed:

  • Majestic for custom suit tailoring
  • Flashy for landscaping services
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Is your trade mark a geographical place?

If your trade mark is the name of a geographic location, then it may be difficult to register, especially if the location has a reputation for the goods or services you are claiming. Other traders in that location or with goods from that location should be able to indicate where their goods and services come from.

  • Yes8
  • No9

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • Newcastle for coal
  • Columbia for coffee

Examples of trade marks that other traders are less likely to need to use for the goods and services claimed:

  • Sahara for air conditioning units
  • Thredbo for bananas
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Is your trade mark an image that depicts your goods or services?

If your trade mark is an image that is commonly used in association with, or is an ordinary depiction of, the goods or services you are claiming then it may be difficult to register. Other traders should be able to use these images in connection with their goods and services.

  • Yes10
  • No11

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

Modems - this is an ordinary representation of the goods

Examples that are less likely to be used for the goods and services claimed:

for travel agency services

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Is your trade mark a combination of a number/s and/or a letter/s?

If your trade mark is a combination of a letter/s and a number/s then it may be difficult to register, especially if it is commonly used in connection with the goods or services you are claiming. Other traders of the same goods and services should also be able to use the combination.

  • Yes12
  • No13

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • H20 for bottled water
  • 500cc for motorbikes

Some combinations may be difficult to register because they could be used to indicate items such as size, date or quantity on the goods claimed.

Examples that are less likely to be used for the goods and services claimed:

  • A2B=C for chauffeur services
  • U82 for catering services
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Is your trade mark a number/s?

If your trade mark consists of numbers only then it may be difficult to register, especially if those numbers are commonly used in connection with or to describe the goods or services you are claiming. Other traders of the same goods and services should also be able to use the numbers

  • Yes14
  • No15

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • 21 for playing cards
  • 24/7 for convenience store retailing

Some combinations may be difficult to register because they could be used to indicate items such as size, date or quantity on the goods claimed

Examples that are less likely to be used for the goods and services claimed:

  • 9-5 for thermal coffee mugs
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Is your trade mark a letter/s?

If you trade mark consists of only one or two letter then it may be difficult to register, especially if those letters are commonly used in connection with or to describe the goods or services you are claiming. Other traders of the same goods or services should also be able to use the letter.

  • Yes16
  • No17

An example of a trade mark that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • AA for batteries

Some combinations of letters may be difficult to register because they could be used as serial or model numbers

Examples that are less likely to be used for the goods and services claimed:

  • WXY for musical instruments

WXY has no meaning in connection with the goods, so it is unlikely to be needed by other traders

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Is your trade mark an acronym?

If your trade mark is an acronym that is commonly associated with or used to describe the goods or services you are claiming, then it may be difficult to register. Other traders of the same goods and services should be able to use the acronym.

  • Yes18
  • No19

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • LCD for electrical goods
  • SMS for telecommunication services

These acronyms are in common use in relation to the goods/services listed

Examples that are less likely to be used for the goods and services claimed:

  • SOS for cosmetics
  • BFG for the retailing of clothing
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Is your trade mark a phrase or slogan?

If your trade mark is a phrase or slogan that describes or recommends your goods or services, then it may be difficult to register, especially if it is commonly used in the marketplace. Other traders of the same goods or services should also be able to use the phrase or slogan.

  • Yes20
  • No21

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • Lowest prices for the retail of cars
  • The Best Fruit and Veg for green grocer services

Examples of trade marks that other traders are less likely to need to use for the goods and services claimed:

  • Lets Shake It Up! for dairy beverages
  • Divide and Conquer for storage services
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Is your trade mark an invented word?

If your trade mark is an invented word, that is, one that you have coined yourself and has no relevant meaning to the goods or services you are claiming, then it has a higher likelihood of registrability. However simple spelling variations, phonetic equivalents of words and two obvious words combined, may be difficult to register.

  • Yes22
  • No23

Examples of trade marks that would be difficult to register for the goods and services claimed:

  • EZ-ZE-CLEAN for dishwashing detergent
  • Raspberri for fruit juice
  • Payquick for online billing services

Examples of trade marks that other traders are less likely to need to use for the goods and services claimed:

  • Goztrel for pesticide
  • Imagi-sculpt for modelling clay
  • Continue?23