Trade marks

we will be looking at trade marks - what they are, the benefits of having them, and how you can use them in your business.

What is a trade mark?

A trade mark is a way of distinguishing the goods or services of your business from those of other businesses.

A trade mark gives you exclusive rights to commercially use, license or sell the trade mark. This means that no one else in Australia can commercially use your trade mark within the class of goods and services it's registered under.

Any feature (or combination of features) that distinguishes your goods or services from others can be registered as a trade mark, such as a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture or aspect of packaging.

Why do I need a trade mark?

If you need exclusive use of your business name or branding in Australia, consider applying for a trade mark.

Protecting your trade mark will protect the identity of your goods and services, and prevent others from imitating your brand.

A trade mark is protected in all Australian states and territories for an initial period of 10 years, after that time you can renew your registration.

How much does it cost to apply for a trade mark?

The cost of applying for a trade mark will vary depending on the protection you are seeking. Goods and services are grouped together in classes (e.g. clothing, footwear and headgear are under one class, whereas software is in a different class). You'll pay more if you're trying to apply for a trade mark in more than one class.

Generally, the minimum cost to apply for a trade mark is around $120 for each class. If your application is accepted, you'll need to pay an extra $300 for each class.

Your trade mark will be protected for 10 years from the date of the application.

How do I apply for a trade mark?

You can apply for a trade mark through the IP Australia website.

Before you apply for a trade mark, you can search IP Australia's Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS) to make sure the trade mark you want to use is available. This search will provide you with both currently registered trade marks and trade marks which are being applied for.

How long does it take to apply for a trade mark?

Generally, your application will be assessed three to four months after you file the application.

If your trade mark is accepted, it will be advertised as an accepted application in the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks. If anyone wants to challenge your application, they can file an opposition.

If no oppositions are filed against you, or if they are not successful, your trade mark will be registered when you pay the registration fee. You must pay within six months from the date your accepted application is first advertised.

The earliest date that your trade mark can be registered is around seven and a half months from when you first file your application.

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