What is a Trademark?

A trade mark is a way of identifying a unique product or service and can be your most important branding and marketing tool.

A trade mark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any combination of these.

Trademarks registration applications are processed by IP Australia http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au

Eligibility requirements for a trademark application

Before applying you need to understand the eligibility requirements for a trade mark application including:

  • Common signs test – does your trademark use commonly used phrases and descriptive terms, common surnames, common place names or common abbreviations, acronyms, numbers or letters.
  • Geographical names – whether the proposed trade mark is a term that other traders will have a legitimate need to use to describe their own goods or services.
  • Surnames – whether other traders with the same surname will have a legitimate need to use it on their own goods or services.
  • Prohibited signs – signs are not able to be registered for trademark, for example flags, emblems and hallmarks.

Eligibility requirements are lengthy and complex. Your lawyer will go through the eligibility requirements to ensure you are eligible to apply.

Describing your goods and services

Goods and services are divided into 45 classes.

An understanding of these classes is required and you need to think carefully about the goods and services you want protected under your trademark.

If you make a mistake, you will not be able to expand your list of goods or services once you file your application.

Your lawyer will help you decide what goods or services to list. Questions your lawyer will help you clarify are:

  • Where do you derive your business income from?
  • What is the nature of your business?
  • What are you known for by your customers/clients?
  • What products or services does your business provide?

Searching to find out if your trademark is available

IP Australia will refuse to register a trademark if a name already exists that is too similar to the proposed name.

The Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS) enables you to search all current trademark registrations, pending applications and keep track of their progress.

However, a trademark search is not as simple as it sounds and requires skill and persistence. It is usually not enough to merely search for trademark identical to the one you want to use.

For example, when you conduct a Word/Image search for your proposed trademark name, you can choose to search for a:

  • Exact Word
  • Word Prefix
  • Part Word
  • Word Suffix
  • Phonetic Word
  • Part Image
  • Exact Image
  • Fuzzy Word
  • Word Stem
  • Wildcard

The more comprehensive your search is, the easier it will be to determine the availability of a trademark name.

Internet Law can help you find the right lawyer to help you

  • Resolve trademark eligibility issues
  • Conduct a thorough search to ensure availability of your proposed trademark name
  • Prepare your application

Contact us with your enquiry today!