Last updated: 
8 April 2021

What is TM Headstart?

This service is a quick turnaround assessment which gives you an indication of whether your trade mark is likely to encounter any problems to its registration before you publicly file.

Using the TM Headstart service does not guarantee registration of your trade mark. It assists you with identifying potential barriers to registration that your trade mark might face. Further, examiners can explain your options but cannot advise what is best for you.

Please note that filing an application through the TM Headstart service is a 2 part payment process, and any amendments made to your request may incur an additional fee. Once you have paid your Part 1 fee and you have received an assessment result, you are given the option to formally file your application and receive a filing date by paying the Part 2 fee.

As you are only given 5 working days to consider your options before your assessment discontinues, if the time restraints are too tight, you should consider lodging your trade mark application through the standard trade mark application process.

Benefits of TM Headstart

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

This service does cost extra but it may save you money in the long run, as trade mark applications filed with mistakes by customers are not refundable.

Your request is not published unless you pay the Part 2 fee, converting your TM Headstart request to a standard application. Please note that once your trade mark has a formal filing date and is available for public inspection, only very minor changes can be made to your application.


TM Headstart is a fast turnaround service, so strict timeframes apply:

  • Once the examiner has contacted you, you have five working days to either lodge amendments or pay the Part 2 fee. This due date is on the front page of your assessment results report.
  • If you amend your request and pay the 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 does not require a fee (for example, amendments to ownership, or to goods/services within existing classes), the initial five day period still applies.
  • The five working day period cannot be extended. If you do not pay for an amendment or pay the Part 2 fee within the five working days, your request will discontinue and it cannot be revived.
  • If you are travelling overseas for any reason in the week following filing your TM Headstart request, consider waiting until you have returned to Australia before filing.

Fees for TM Headstart

A list of fees for using the TM Headstart service are available under our trade mark costs.

Once you receive your assessment results report, you can pay your fees at any time within the five working day period after the report was issued.

Please note you will not be sent an invoice for fees. To pay any TM Headstart fees, you must log into our online services and then select the relevant payment.

TM Headstart process

  1. Submit your request through online services.
  2. A trade mark examiner will assess your request and contact you within five working days with an assessment results report.
  3. Based on this report you can convert with your request to an application, make amendments, or decide not to continue with your request. 
  4. To make an amendment you must log into your online services account and pay any fees applicable. Most amendments attract a fee as they involve additional assessment by the examiner. 
  5. To convert your request to an application, you must pay the Part 2 fee through online within five working days of the date of your assessment results report.
  6. If you do so, your TM Headstart request converts to a standard trade mark application, is published and allocated a filing date.
  7. If you do not pay your Part 2 fee, your request will discontinue and cannot be revived.


  • All correspondence in relation to your TM Headstart request is sent electronically to the online services account from which it was submitted.
  • Online services will send a notification email when there is new correspondence but will not send you any invoices for any of your fees.
  • Many applicants miss out on paying their Part 2 fee because their online services notifications are blocked by their spam filter, or go to their junk mail folder. Please ensure these emails are directed to your inbox by modifying your spam filter and junk mail settings, if necessary.

Getting a filing date

Rights in your registration, if successful, 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 your application through the standard trade mark application process instead, which will award the filing date when your application is lodged.

Once the Part 2 fee has been made, only very minor changes can be made to your application, so it is important to make changes before paying your Part 2 fee.

When you cannot use TM Headstart 

The following types of marks cannot be assessed in 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 cannot proceed).