Last updated: 
30 January 2019

Tips for using Australian online trade mark search

Here are some detailed tips to help you use our Australian trade mark search.

Word search

The Word / Image search field defaults to '3) Part Word'. This is the default setting because it will search on plurals and parts of words.

If you do a part word search on the word 'chief' your search result will include words such as 'chief' and 'chiefs'. If you select '1) Exact Word' and search on the word 'chief' your search will only return results for the word 'chief' and will exclude matches for related words such as 'chiefs'. You should search using the most distinctive words of your trade mark.

You can view the details of similar trade marks by clicking on the relevant trade mark number. You should also search for words that sound similar to the one you are searching for. If you were searching for the term 'easy' you should also look for variants such as 'esy', 'eezy', 'ezy' and 'eezee'.

The search fields only allow one word to be entered per field and do not support punctuation or spacing. If you type two words such as 'food ideas' into a field an error will appear. To search for 'food ideas' you would need to type 'food' into the first field and 'ideas' into the second field.

Image search

To search for an image you need to search under option '6) Exact Image' and '7) Part Image'. You should use the most descriptive words for the images contained in your graphic as your search terms, for example, rather than searching 'tree' you could search the words 'tree' and 'willow'.

Number search

You can follow the progress of a specific trade mark application through Australian trade mark search. If you have an application number you are interested in viewing, enter it in the search field 'Trade Mark Number'.

Owner search

If you place your mouse cursor over the word 'Search' on the left side of the home page, you will be given the option of selecting 'My Search', 'Basic' or 'Advanced'. If you select 'Advanced' you will be taken to a screen that allows you to search by a name. You have the option to search by 'Owner', 'Opponent', 'Non-Use Applicant' or 'Claimed Interest Name'.

Further information on searching is provided through the 'Help' link on the left side of the page. 

Other reasons to search

Here are some other reasons you may want to use our search services in addition to helping you determine whether you can register your trade mark.

Finding out who owns a trade mark

You may need to find out who owns a registered or pending trade mark if you want to:

·         obtain a licence to use that trade mark

·         buy the trade mark

·         loan money to the owner of a valuable trade mark and then take a mortgage over it.

Australian trade mark search records the names of entities that own registered trade marks or have current pending applications. If a third party with an unregistered interest owns or has an interest in a trade mark, it will not appear on the register.

Finding out if a trade mark has been mortgaged

All security interests such as mortgages over a trade mark must be recorded by the secured party on the national Personal Property Securities Register. This register can be searched to determine whether there is a mortgage over a trade mark. If the trade mark owner is a company, the mortgage may also have been recorded on the Register of Company Changes.

Finding out if a trade mark registration has lapsed

Australian trade mark search records the status of each trade mark registration. A registration will lapse if the required maintenance fees are not paid.

Checking that your IP is not being infringed

You can conduct searches to see whether your intellectual property (IP) is being misused or adversely affected in any way.

You can employ a watching service. This is a regular search of Australian trade mark search that looks for applications to register trade marks similar to yours. If anyone intends to introduce a product name or logo that you believe may cause confusion with your trade mark, the watching service will alert you if they file an application and give you time to protest that application.

Understanding what the trade mark covers

The fact that someone has already registered a trade mark identical or similar to your proposed one does not prevent you from using or registering it.

This is because every trade mark registration and application includes a description of the goods or services covered by it. Another name may be identical to yours but the product or service it is applied to may be totally different.

If your proposed product name is 'Tomcat' and your product is sleeping pills, a registration for 'Tomcat' that covers industrial air conditioners only is unlikely to cause you concern.

If a conflicting registration has a broad description of goods or services similar to the description of your product or service, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot use the trade mark.

You can apply to have the trade marks register changed to limit the description of goods or services. If a trade mark registration for 'Tomcat' covers 'computer equipment' but the trade mark owner only manufactures keyboards, you could apply to rectify the register by limiting the description of goods to 'computer keyboards'. By limiting the description of goods you may then be entitled to register 'Tomcat' as a trade mark for mouse mats.