A free trademark search is a comprehensive search of all of Australia’s trademark databases, including databases kept by IP Australia, trade listings, web browser searches, and other databases. The purpose of a free trademark search is to determine whether or not your proposed trademark is available for use. You should always conduct your own trademark search before you submit your application to avoid time and financial setbacks.
A comprehensive free trademark search will assist you in discovering:
- Whether you can use your proposed trademark, or whether your trademark is already in use
- Whether your brand name or logo is eligible for trademark protection
- An indication of similar marks within your marketplace
- Whether or not your proposed trademark is infringing on the marks of other trademark owners
You can search for both pending and registered trademarks yourself, using IP Australia’s search tools, as well as conducting your own common law research. However, trademark searches are not as simple as they sound. You need to unearth all of the marks that are the same as your own, as well as those that are similar, even in a single element. If you fail to recognise a mark that is similar to your own, your registration application is likely to be rejected, and the owner of the similar mark might take legal action against you for infringement.
A trademark professional can conduct a trademark search on your behalf. Some professionals, like us, will even offer you a free trademark search. At Quick Off the Mark, we offer to do your trademark search at no cost.
What Your Free Trademark Search Includes
A free trademark search includes a preliminary search for identical or similar trademarks, as well as a further comprehensive search of Australian trademark databases, and an additional search.
During your free trademark search, we will analyse the following database.
Australian Trademarks Online Search System (ATMOSS)
ATMOSS is IP Australia’s primary databases for recording all of the important details about registered trademarks. The search results provided by ATMOSS include both similar and identical trademarks to your own proposed mark. These listings include not only business names and brand names, but also other words, images, shapes, sounds, and all other intellectual property registered as an Australian trademark.
ATMOSS also lists the owner details and the associated goods and services of every registered trademark.
When you want to register your business name as a trademark, we can perform a trademark check to identify instances where your current business name infringes on the rights of a registered trademark owner. Even if your business name is registered with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission), you cannot always register it as a trademark. We can perform a trademark check during your free trademark search to determine whether your business name can be trademarked.
For an additional low fixed fee, we will search these other databases for you;
Surname Trademark Search
It is possible to register your own surname as a trademark, so long as your name can be deemed ‘uncommon’. An uncommon surname is one that appears on Australian registers less than 500 times. We can perform a Search for Australian Surnames to determine whether or not you can apply to register your surname as a trademark.
Classification Trademark Search
This is a search tool provided by IP Australia for classifying the types of goods and services your trademark covers. There are a total of 45 different internationally recognised classes of goods and services. When you are filling out your trademark application form, you will need to nominate a number of these classes to describe the types of goods and services that your trademark protects. It is important that you nominate all of the correct classes so that your protection is tailored to cover all of the goods and services you market.
We can perform this search for you and advise you on the classes under which your goods and services fall.
Extended Trademark Search
Once we have exhausted all of the databases provided by IP Australia, we will end your free trademark search with a extended law search. This search goes beyond government records. An extended law search can include:
- Phone directories
- The Yellow Pages
- Industrial directories
- State trademark registers
- The Internet
- Market research
- Other relevant databases
We perform this type of trademark search to uncover trademarks that are currently in use, but not formally registered with IP Australia. It is important to identify these marks, because while Australian trademark law operates on a first-to-file basis, unregistered trademark owners are still protected, to an extent, by common law. You might find that your registration is contested by an unregistered owner if you attempt to register a mark that is too similar to their own.
Instructing us to perform a free trademark search before you file an application is incredibly important. Without this free trademark search, you can lose valuable time and money, or find yourself locked in a trademark dispute with a registered owner. You can perform a trademark search on your own at no cost: however, a trademark professional can perform a more comprehensive search on your behalf, and we offer you this service at absolutely no cost.
Contact us at Quick Off the Mark for your free trademark search or for more information on trademark law.
Quick Off the Mark® is a division of Mark My Words Trademark Services Pty Ltd (MMW). MMW was founded in 2011 and is headed by Jacqui Pryor, a registered trade marks attorney with more than 16 years experience.
In 2015 MMW acquired Quick Off the Mark®, which is a fast and affordable Australian trademark registration service. Quick Off the Mark® offers fixed fees that are affordable to help Australian businesses register their trademarks.
Disclaimer – The advice provided in this blog is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your business objectives, legal situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, legal situation and needs.