Tips To Navigate The Australian Online Trade Mark Search Database
When applying for a registered trade mark, you cannot apply for a trade mark already in existence. To help, the Australian Trade Mark Search is a publicly available registry that shows the trade marks that IP Australia has previously registered or removed. While the registry can provide you with valuable information about a trade mark, including its owner, status, and class of goods or services that the trade mark protects, it can be difficult to navigate. This article outlines some tips to keep in mind when navigating the Trade Mark Search.
Types of Searches
The Trade Mark Search provides a variety of search functions that each serve a different purpose.
Search #1: Word Search
If you want to conduct a general search of a particular trade mark, you should use a word search. This function allows you to find all registered or removed trade marks, their owners’ names, and similar-looking or sounding trade marks.
For example, if you search the word ‘dog’, 2,984 variations of the word dog are shown, including the trade marks for ‘bulldog’, ‘top dog’, and ‘red dog’.
You can narrow these quick searches by doing an ‘advanced search’ where you can specify certain features of your search, such as the date of lodgement or the trade mark number. This is particularly useful if you want to search for a phrase with more than one word.
For example, if you want to search trade marks containing the phrase ‘dog food’, an advanced search can identify trade marks with both terms present instead of a general search that may include separate variations of the words ‘dog’ and ‘food’.
Under the advanced search, there are also different options for your search. The default setting is a partial search which will give you the broadest search results. However, if you want to refine your results further, you should opt for an exact search.
Search #2: Image Search
The Trade Mark Search also allows you to upload images when searching for trade marks. You can use a default image search to search for an image more broadly, but if you want your results to be more exact, you should use an advanced search.
You can either upload an image on its own or support the image with relevant word search terms. It is useful to support the uploaded image with word search terms to ensure that your search is specific. You should include word terms that describe the image you have uploaded.
For example, if you search for an image of a gardening centre, you might include the words ‘flower’ or ‘plant’ in your search.
Search #3: Number Search
If you know the number of the trade mark you want to search, you can search for this number directly in the search bar. This is also useful to check the status of your own trade mark application or to verify when you must renew your application.
Why Conduct a Trade Mark Search?
There are a number of reasons why you may want to conduct a trade mark search.
Reason #1: Pre-Application Process
Before applying for a registered trade mark, you must ensure that somebody else has not registered a similar trade mark concerning similar goods or services. Conducting a trade mark search is an important step in ensuring that the trade mark you intend to register is not already taken.
Reason #2: Finding The Owner Of A Trade Mark
If you wish to purchase or obtain a licence to use a trade mark that another person has registered, a trade mark search allows you to obtain information about the trade mark owner. The registry includes the names and business addresses of trade mark owners, so you can inquire directly about either buying or obtaining a licence to use a trade mark.
Reason #3: Infringement
You should conduct frequent searches of the registry to ensure that another person has not infringed on your exclusive rights concerning your registered trade mark. If an accepted trade mark application is similar to your own trade mark or appears to misuse your trade mark, you have two months to oppose this application.
Reason #4: Renewal
Registration only protects trade marks for 10 years. Trade mark owners can then renew their application 12 months before the application’s expiry date. If you forget the date you registered your trade mark, you can find this information on the registry.
When conducting searches on the Trade Mark Search, it is important to keep in mind that different search functions serve different purposes. A quick word search can help you identify different trade marks more broadly. However, if you want to refine this search, you can conduct an advanced search. The registry also allows you to upload photos or search trade mark numbers if you have the relevant information. If you require legal assistance with applying for a trade mark in Australia, our experienced trade mark lawyers can help. Call 1300 657 423 or complete the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a trade mark application cost?
Trade mark registration can cost anywhere between $250 and $600, not including renewal fees. You can find a comprehensive breakdown of registration costs here on IP Australia’s website.
What database can I use to find out if material is copyrighted?
There is no copyright equivalent of the Trade Mark Search database. Copyright owners usually print their copyright information on the material itself. For example, a photograph may have a copyright statement printed on it that says ‘© [the author’s name] 2022’.
How can I search for a patent?
You can search for patents registered with IP Australia here.