Before you apply for a registered trademark, it is important that you perform a registered trademark search Australia in all Australian databases. While you do not have to perform a trademark search before you apply, it is necessary that you do in order to save yourself time and money. Your trade mark search should include the IP Australia Trademark Register and other similar databases, as well as a number of other sources of trademark information. The following guide outlines the steps taken in performing a registered trademark search Australia. This is not a comprehensive guide: we recommend that you speak to a trademark professional before you perform your search and submit your application.
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Performing a Registered Trademark Search Australia
Australian Trademark Register
The first step to conducting a registered trademark search Australia is to perform a search of the Australian Trademark Register for similar or identical marks. You can perform this search using ATMOSS (Australian Trademark Online Search System) on the IP Australia website. This search tool allows you to search for both words and images. You can also condense or expand your search by using advanced search terms. For example, should you wish to search for marks with pending registrations, you can apply a search filter to narrow your results.
Similarly, you can restrict your ATMOSS search to single goods and services classes in order to identify the marks operating within your industry.
When conducting a registered trademark search Australia, take care to identify marks that are not only confusingly similar to your own, but also those that are similar in single elements. When your mark is recognisably similar to another existing trademark, you are vulnerable to legal ramifications.
The Madrid Protocol
The Madrid Protocol is a system for international trademark registration that permits you to apply for protection in several countries via a single application. Through this system, other traders in overseas countries can trademark their own IP in Australia. After some time, these international registrations will appear on the Australian Trademark Register.
In addition, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has their own database that contains specific Madrid Protocol registrations, whether pending or granted. This database is called ROMARIN. You should perform a search of this database in addition to your ATMOSS search in order to unearth registered marks that have originated overseas and been registered within Australia. This is because not all international marks are included on the Australian Trademark Register.
Even though an international trader’s mark has not originated within Australia, you must still take care not to infringe upon it. You can be sued for infringement even if the other trader lives in another country.
Company and Business Name Registrations
When you register your company or business name with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) you do not receive automatic trademark protection. By registering your business name, you are only preventing competing traders from registering an identical business name: you cannot prevent competitors from registering a similar name.
If you want to register your business name, you should conduct a search of Australian company and business registrations for identical or similar names to your own. You can search for these names on the ASIC website.
However, you cannot freely access information regarding the types of goods and services covered by these business names on the ASIC website. You will have to conduct your own research to determine the goods and services offered by each business. You might use the Yellow Pages as a resource, or the Internet. You might also decide to obtain a company or business name extract, at a cost, from the relevant Australian authority.
Names of Places
When conducting a registered trademark search Australia, you can include the names of places in your search to locate cities, towns, rivers, or geographical and developmental features that contain the same name, word, or words as your proposed trademark. You can search for Australian place names on the Geoscience Australia website.
Beware including place names in your trademark. A trademark’s aim is to be unique and distinctive: place names are often restrictive and commonplace as opposed to dynamic and memorable.
You can conduct a review of international place names by perusing international gazetteers.
You should conduct your own research of your industry to uncover the existing use of your mark within the marketplace. This broad search is referred to as a ‘common law’ search and can include both registered and unregistered trademarks. You might include search tools such as The Yellow Pages or The White Pages, the Internet, trade journals and listings, and other common law means.
You can use online search engines to search for the goods and services associated with each trademark. Be sure to restrict your online search to Australian results in order to narrow your search.
There are a wide range of parameters you can access when you’re conducting a registered trademark search in Australia. The means mentioned in the above guide are by no means comprehensive or all-encompassing. The search parameters you utilise will be determined by the nature of your trademark, as well as the nature of your goods and services. For example, you might also need to check Australian databases for any surnames included in your trademark. You can conduct such a search on the IP Australia website, as well as access further information about trademark searches.