How to search existing trade marks

Before you apply, you need to check whether your proposed trade mark is the same or similar to other trade marks.

If another trade mark exists that's too similar to your own, it may:

  • Stop your trade mark from being registered
  • Mean that use of your trade mark could be trade mark infringement.

A trade mark is generally considered too similar (i.e. ‘deceptively similar’) to another trade mark, if its use in relation to the same or similar goods or services may cause confusion.   

To search existing trade marks, you can use:

  • TM Checker to check your idea
  • the Australian Trade Mark Search to look up registered and pending trade marks.

Search your trade mark with TM Checker

TM Checker can help you check if your trade mark is available in Australia. 

Our free tool gives you an idea of:

  • How long your application could take
  • How much your application could cost
  • If your trade mark can be used in the proposed classes of goods and services.

Check your trade mark

Search a trade mark with Australian Trade Mark Search

Australia Trade Mark Search contains details of registered and pending trade marks. It will help you understand what's registered as a trade mark, and its classes of goods and services.

You can search by:

  • Word
  • Phrase
  • Image
  • Owner
  • Goods and services.

There are two ways you can search:

  1. Quick search —  a general search that allows you to look for trade mark words, owner names, trade mark numbers and international registration numbers. You can also upload an image for an image comparison search.
  2. Advanced search —  a detailed search that allows you to input complex search queries. This type of search is best suited to those who are experienced in searching for trade marks.

Australian Trade Mark Search

Need help? The Australian Trade Mark Search help centre details how to use the quick search function.

International trade mark search 

If you're looking to take your trade mark to another country, you'll need to check if it already exists there.

How to search existing IP overseas International trade mark search

Tips for searching trade marks

You can search by:

  • Word
  • Image
  • Owner
  • Phrase
  • Type or kind of trade mark
  • Classes of goods and services.

It’s important to cover all bases and search beyond exact matches for your idea. Trade marks that aren't identical but still look or sound similar or share important features, can conflict with one another.

1. Try different spellings

Consider alternative spelling and words that sound similar (e.g. for the word 'easy', also consider 'eezy', 'ezy' and 'eezee').

2. Search various forms of the word

Use the 'part word' option to cover plurals, suffixes and prefixes in your search (e.g. for the word 'bark', you'll see results for 'barks' and 'barking').

It's important to also check for phonetic variations of words (e.g. 'pelican', 'pelikan').

3. Break up your trade mark into important parts and search those parts separately

Word and image components should always be searched separately. You should also break up words so you're searching distinctive elements separately from descriptive elements.

4. Search images using descriptive image terms

Trade marks containing images can be searched using the Image Terms glossary, a link for which can be found next to the image search field. For example, a search for ‘TREE’ as a part image will return results of trade marks including images of a tree.

In some cases, searches can also be made more specific. For example, if you're only looking for trade marks containing palm trees, you can search the image term ‘TREE, PALM’.

5. Check the goods and services

It's possible for identical or similar trade marks to co-exist on the register, provided that the goods and services they cover are not the same or similar.

Consider seeking professional advice

Launching a new brand can involve a significant investment of time and money. To give you more certainty that the trade mark you've chosen is available and is likely to be registrable, you may wish to seek professional advice.

An experienced trade mark professional such as a trade marks attorney or lawyer, can undertake comprehensive searches for prior registered or unregistered trade marks that might pose a risk. They can also provide advice on ways that any risks might be overcome or reduced.

Get professional assistance