Trademark Search – All You Need To Know

  • By conducting a registered trademark search in Australia, you can discover whether or not your trademark is available for commercial use.
  • It is important that you conduct this Australian trademark search prior to committing valuable company resources to a proposed brand name.
  • A trade mark search will help you to avoid wasting both time and money on a business name or brand name that is not eligible for trademark registration.

Australian Trademark Search

A registered trademark search in Australia aims to:

  • Determine whether or not your trademark is available or eligible for registration
  • Determine whether your trademark is infringing on the rights of other traders
  • Minimise the chance of legal action during the registration process
  • Minimise the risk of incurring a trademark dispute in the future

Your trademark search should consist of the following:

  • An initial cursory search of trademark databases for identical marks
  • An additional comprehensive search of Australian databases for similar marks
  • A common law or full availability search

Searching the Trademarks Register

The first stage of conducting a registered trademark search in Australia is to search the Australian Trademarks Register. You can access this register on the IP Australia website: use the ATMOSS search system to guide your search.

Conduct an initial search for identical trademarks. Should you find an identical or reasonably identical trademark registered for the same goods and services, you can abandon your proposed trademark.

You must then perform a comprehensive search for similar trademarks within your industry. ATMOSS has various search filters than you can use to narrow your search. A trademark database search does not, however, include all of the marks that might be in use within the Australian marketplace.

Common Law Trademark Search

The next stage to conducting a registered trademark search in Australia is to peruse all common law parameters. This search will reveal marks both registered and unregistered that you might have missed in your database search. There are a number of resources available to aid you in your common law search, including:

  • The dictionary and thesaurus: use these resources to determine whether your proposed trademark has a listed or secondary meaning. You can also use a translations service to determine whether your trademark means anything in a foreign language. Be sure to save the results of these searches; you might require them in the future.
  • Encyclopaedias: if your trademark does have a secondary meaning, you might decide to search any encyclopaedias to determine how these meanings are currently used and have been used in the past. If your trademark is already in use in association with the same products and services, you will need to change your mark altogether.
  • Newsgroups: you can access a searchable database of newsgroups via Google. These groups offer extensive use of regular commercial lingo. You can use the searchable database to determine how your trademark is used by others.

Trademark Search in Australia

Once you have discovered the true meaning and usage of your trademark within your marketplace, you must determine whether or not it is in use. You can use a regular internet search engine to complete your registered trademark search in Australia. In addition, you might also access:

  • Products and Services Directories: use these to determine the number of traders that have listed the products or services associated with your proposed trademark.
  • Company Directories: use company directories to discover whether other traders are already using a similar trademark for their own purposes. Should you find similar results, conduct further research to determine what kind of products and service traders offer.
  • Business Directories: If your proposed trademark is already listed as a ‘heading’ within a business directory, it is not a term that you can register.
  • Phone Directories: searching through a phone directory is a useful step in your full availability search, but also a time-consuming one. You should be sure to search through a number of different phone directories, as well as industry-specific directories, to yield the most accurate results.

Trade Marks Searching in Australia

During either your database or full availability search, you might also conduct a search to determine whether your preferred domain name is available to you. You should include alternative spellings, symbols, dashes, and plurals in your search terms.

While the above search advice might seem comprehensive, it is not the full extent of your search. These searches will provide you with fundamental results that you can use for additional research. The above results are simply suggestions that you might choose to use in your own trademark search. It is advised, however, that you consult a professional before you file for trademark registration. This is because trademark searches require a depth of understanding of Australian trademark legislation. You might conduct your own search as a starting point for a more comprehensive search, but you would be prudent to instruct a trademark professional to perform an additional search on your behalf.

Search for a trademark professional who can conduct this search for little or no cost. You can receive professional service without a hefty fee. Protect your business and your trademark by performing a registered trademark search in Australia before filing for trademark registration. You can save yourself time, money, and hassle by performing a trademark search prior to application.


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.