Last updated: 
30 September 2019

We’re experiencing delays in general examination of trade marks and TM Headstart assessments. We apologise for any inconvenience. For a status update, please refer to our Trade marks response times.

What is TM Headstart?

This service gives you an assessment of your trade mark application and will help you identify any problems it may contain before you publicly file.

This service does cost extra but it may save you money in the long run, as trade mark applications filed that contain errors are often rebuffed and applicants pay for those mistakes by having to re-file. Applications with mistakes filed by customers are not refundable.

When you submit your TM Headstart request you will be contacted by one of our examiners within five working days with your application assessment results.

We can help you find ways to overcome barriers to meeting the legislative requirements to register your trade mark. We can also further explain the examination and registration process. However, it should be noted we do not guarantee registration.

Benefits of TM Headstart

Using TM Headstart is a good way to apply for a trade mark if you are unsure of the process.

Your request is not published during the TM Headstart assessment. It will only be published if you decide to continue and pay the Part 2 fee, converting your TM Headstart application to a standard application.

This service is confidential and no one will see your trade mark until you are ready to file.

When you can't use TM Headstart

The following types of marks can’t use TM Headstart:

  • special kinds of signs
  • series trade marks
  • certification trade marks
  • collective trade marks
  • defensive trade marks
  • divisional applications.

If you request a series we will call you and ask you to choose one representation (otherwise we can't proceed).

TM Headstart process

  1. Submit your request through our online services.
  2. A trade mark examiner will assess your request against registration criteria and contact you within five working days.
  3. All correspondence in relation to your TM Headstart request will be sent electronically to the eServices account from which it was submitted. eServices will send a notification by email when there is new correspondence.
  4. Based on the pre-application assessment you can then choose to continue with your request, make amendments, or decide not to continue your request.
  5. To continue with your request, pay the Part 2 fee online within five working days of the date of your results report.
  6. Your TM Headstart request converts to a standard trade mark application at that time.
  7. only once this fee is paid that your request becomes a trade mark application, is published and allocated a filing date.

Important points about the TM Headstart process

  • Most amendments attract an extra fee as they involve additional assessment by the examiner.
  • TM Headstart does not guarantee registration. It assists you with identifying potential barriers to registration that your trade mark might face.

Getting a filing date

Trade mark rights start from the filing date. Once you pay the Part 2 fee, your request is considered filed and will be published.

If you need a filing date straight away, please consider filing a standard trade mark application instead as the filing date is then given when we get your application.


Once the examiner has contacted you, you have five working days to either lodge amendments or pay the Part 2 fee and convert your request to a standard application.

If you amend your request and pay any associated fee during this five day period, the examiner will re-assess your request.

When the examiner sends you a new report, you have another five days to consider the new results and pay the Part 2 fee or make further changes. If your amendment (change) does not require a fee (for example, amendments to ownership, or changes to goods/services within existing classes), the initial five day period still applies.

The five working day period can’t be extended. If you don’t pay for an amendment or the Part 2 fee within the five working days your request will discontinue and can’t be revived.

Fees for TM Headstart

Fees for applying for a trade mark using the TM Headstart are available under our trade mark costs.