You can only truly protect your business’s intellectual property by registering a trademark in Australia. You can apply for trademark registration for any number of things: names, shapes, images, logos, colours, sounds, scents, and more. The predominant requirements of your small business trademark application are that it:
- Distinguishes your goods and services from those of your competition
- Does not infringe on other marks within your industry or similar industries
There are a number of steps to trademark registration and these are outlined below. Or it might be best to engage trademark experts today to conduct your trademark application to secure your small business trademark.
Conduct a Trademark Search
It is advised that you perform a thorough trademark search before registering a trademark in Australia. The purpose of this search is to ensure that your mark is available for use, and also that you save yourself time and money. The minimum time for registering a new trademark is seven months. By performing a trademark search before you apply, you are ensuring that you have the best chance at achieving trademark registration without issue.
You can instruct a trademark professional to perform this search on your behalf. At Quick Off the Mark, we offer to conduct your full comprehensive and common law search at no cost. This search will uncover any trademarks that are confusingly similar or identical to your own. Bear in mind that if similarities are found, you may have to alter your mark before you can apply for registration.
We can also provide you with advice concerning issues that may arise during the registration process.
File a Trademark Application
The next step to registering a trademark in Australia is to prepare and file your application. A Quick Off the Mark trademark professional can do this on your behalf. In your application, we will need to include the following information:
- Your full name and address
- The class/es of goods and services that you intend to use in conjunction with your trademark. There are a total of 45 goods and services classes that you must choose between: your trademark can cover one or several classes.
- A clear copy of your trademark, unless your mark can be represented in plain block letters. If your mark consists of a sound, shape, scent, colour, or aspect of packaging, you must include both a graphic and written representation of the mark.
- When you are applying for international registration, you must also provide the date of filing, country, and application number in the convention country within which priority is claimed.
When registering a trademark in Australia, we perform your trademark search, we can also make suggestions as to which classes you need elect in your application. We can also include our own address in your application, so any correspondence concerning your trademark application is forwarded to us, so that we can interpret this information for you and subsequently provide advice.
Once your registering a trademark in Australia application is officially filed, you will receive a letter of acknowledgement within a fortnight. This letter will include your allocated trademark number. This number is allocated to you for the entire life duration of your mark.
The Examination Process
Before you can succeed in registering a trademark in Australia, your application must be examined. Your examiner will ensure that your mark complies with Australian trademark legislation, as well as conduct a search for conflicting marks. They will search for any issue within your application that could prevent registration. Generally, if our own search has not revealed potential issues, the examiner will not find further results. The examination process can last for up to four months, after which time you will receive an ‘acceptance letter’ or an ‘adverse report’.
When registering a trademark in Australia, if the examiner cannot find any issue with your application, you will receive a letter of acceptance. Once your trademark is accepted, it will be published in the Official Journal of Trademarks. Upon this publication, your trademark will undergo a three-month period of opposition. This period of opposition permits other traders to raise objection against you registering a trademark in Australia: however, trademarks do not usually receive objection at this stage of the process.
If instead you are issued with an adverse report, this means that your mark is not yet suitable for registering a trademark in Australia. The adverse report will outline any issues that the examiner has raised, and provide you with a time frame to respond and remedy the issues. A trademark professional can remedy any minor issues on your behalf: however, if the examiner has raised a bigger issue, or pronounces your mark as generic, you will need to provide us with further information before we can respond. If we have conducted a search on your behalf before your application is filed, it is very unlikely that the examiner would find major issues.
Registering a Trademark in Australia
Once your trademark has been accepted and has not received any objection by other traders, you have succeeded in registering a trademark in Australia. Your registration will last a total of ten years from the date of filing, and can be renewed indefinitely. You must pay a final registration fee and receive your official Certificate of Registration before you receive your full rights to your trademark. You are required to pay your fee before the time limit expires, else you risk being charged with an additional fee, or other traders being able to file a late objection.
Once you own a registered trademark, you can begin using the ® symbol to advertise your exclusive rights and your intent to defend your mark. You cannot use this symbol before your mark has been registered: it is illegal to do so. You can, however, use the ™ symbol without registration. You might choose to use this symbol once your application is filed to advertise the fact that your registration is pending.