Last updated: 
8 May 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?

Tools to get you started

Our new and improved Trade Mark Assist offering allows you to learn, search and seamlessly file as well as pay for your trade mark application. Use it to explore your proposed trade mark, identify the goods or services you wish to protect and search existing trade marks.

Trade Mark Assist is now being hosted on as a joint government initiative. We anticipate that this initiative may provide Australian Small Business a modernised and customer centric experience when interacting with government services.