What Are the Differences Between a Standard and TM Headstart Trade Mark Application?
When you started to consider applying for a trade mark, you may have noticed that there are multiple ways to apply. IP Australia provides three ways to apply for a trade mark, the first two being a TM Headstart application and a standard application. However, both of these applications serve fairly different purposes and require different fees. This article outlines:
- the key differences between both applications; and
- how to apply under each application.
Purpose of a TM Headstart Application
A TM Headstart application gives potential trade mark owners an assessment of their application before they formally apply for a registered trade mark. You can think of it as a step before you formally apply for a trade mark.
Although a TM Headstart application does not guarantee that your eventual trade mark registration will be successful, it is useful since:
- an expert examiner can identify any potential problems that may arise in your application;
- you can make changes to your application before you formally register your trade mark; and
- there is a quick turnaround time for retrieving your TM Headstart application.
Whilst you can use a TM Headstart application for most trade marks, you cannot use this application process if you want to assess a:
- special kind of sign;
- series trade mark; or
- certification trade mark.
Purpose of a Standard Application
On the other hand, a standard application is a formal application for a registered trade mark. When applying for a trade mark with a standard application, it is important that you correctly fill out the application. This is because shortly after you file for a standard trade mark, your application is made publicly available, and you can only make minor changes to your application.
For example, the goods or services you want to be trade marked may fall within different classes. For instance, a ‘computer program’ falls under four different classes in the Trade Mark Search. However, once you submit your standard application, you cannot expand the list of classes specified in your application and will likely have to submit a separate trade mark application altogether.
Under a standard application, you do not receive the same pre-assessment services as you would under a TM Headstart application, such as an expert examiner notifying you of any potential problems that may arise in your application. Instead, you only receive an immediate filing date for your application and, depending on the outcome of your application, IP Australia will formally register your trade mark.
Registration Process for a TM Headstart Application
You must make a TM Headstart application via IP Australia’s online services. Before you submit your TM Headstart application, you must consider:
- the type of trade mark you are applying for;
- the class of goods or services that your trade mark will protect; and
- searching the Trade Mark register for similar trade marks that already exist.
Within five working days of submitting your request, a trade mark examiner will contact you with an assessment results report. Whilst this report will not advise you as to the best options to pursue in your application, it will provide you with an array of options to choose from.
Once you receive this report, you can then decide whether to:
- pursue a formal application;
- amend your current application; or
- not continue with your request.
Pursue Formal Application
If you decide to pursue a formal application, you must then pay the Part 2 fee within five working days of the date of your assessment results report. Some applicants miss out on paying the Part 2 fee due to not thoroughly checking their emails. You should note that whilst IP Australia’s online services will send email notifications if there is a new correspondence, they will not send you any invoices for any fees directly. As the applicant, it is your responsibility to pay the Part 2 fee on time.
If you decide to amend your application, you must do so via IP Australia’s online services. However, you must note that amendments to your TM Headstart application may attract further fees as this will involve additional assessments made by the examiner.
Not Continue With Request
If you decide not to continue your request, you do not have to pay the Part 2 fee. After five working days have passed, IP Australia will discontinue your request for the trade mark application.
Registration Process for a Standard Application
IP Australia also handles standard trade mark applications. If you by-pass the TM Headstart application process and go straight to applying for a registered trade mark, it is even more important that you consider:
- the type of trade mark you are applying for;
- the class of goods or services it will protect; and
- whether a similar trade mark is already registered.
Unlike the TM Headstart application, you will not get the chance to receive an assessment results report when you make a standard application. Instead, your trade mark application will either be accepted or rejected, and any amendments you seek to make might involve applying for a whole new trade mark.
A standard application will typically require:
- your personal details;
- a representation or image of your trade mark;
- a description of the good or service that the trade mark will apply to; and
- a list of the classes that your trade mark will protect.
Under a TM Headstart application, your trade mark request will be reviewed before you have the option to apply for a trade mark formally. Whilst a TM Headstart application is not necessary to apply for a trade mark, it can provide a good indication of the strength of your trade mark application depending on the options provided by the examiner in the assessment results report. Once you receive this report, you can decide whether to pursue, amend or withdraw your trade mark application.
On the other hand, under a standard application, you directly apply for a trade mark. Under this process, however, you do not receive an assessment results report. Instead, your application is either accepted or rejected. If you need further legal assistance with applying for a trade mark in Australia, our experienced trade mark lawyers can assist. Call us on 1300 657 423 or complete the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
The costs also vary between the two different services. The total cost for a TM Headstart application starts at $330, whereas the total cost for a standard application starts at $250. You can find the full cost breakdown and fees involved in each service on IP Australia’s website.
If you have already prepared your information before making your application, the application process for either of the services should take from 10 to 15 minutes to finish.
An assessment results report is the report provided by your examiner within five working days of submitting your TM Headstart application. This assessment can identify any potential problems in your application.