Last updated: 
1 July 2020

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Decide if you have a trade mark

Before you apply for a trade mark, there are a number of issues you need to consider. Making the wrong choices with your application can be costly, as mistakes by applicants are usually not refundable.

A common mistake is confusing the different types of intellectual property protection, for example, confusing trade marks and design rights. Some people also believe that a trade mark can only be a logo. That's not right. A trade mark can be a sign that can include words, phrases, movement, sound, images, even smells or a combination of these elements.

Make sure you have familiarised yourself with exactly what comprises a trade mark by reading trade mark basics.

Before you begin to assemble your application, some questions you may want to consider include:

  • am I trying to register a common  or prohibited sign, word or phrase and not know it?
  • under what class of goods and services do I intend to register my trade mark?
  • have I conducted thorough searches of all the databases to make sure I am not copying another individual’s trade mark?
  • am I comfortable with the fact that details of my application, such as addresses, will be published if accepted? Please note that a PO Box can be provided if you are not comfortable with your residential address being published.
  • is my trade mark distinctive enough to distinguish my goods and/or services?
  • am I eligible to own a trade mark?