In Australia, the primary database through which to check if your trademark has already been registered is the Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS). This process should be a comprehensive and thorough one so as to ensure there are no duplicates of the mark registered, that the trademark is indeed eligible for protection and whether it infringes or conflicts with the trademark rights of another. This article outlines how to make effective use of the database
1. How to sign-up, access and use the functions of ATMOSS
The initial step in joining the platform is to create an account to store your search results and remember your search settings. The database, which is freely available for public use, also allows users to access indexed terms to assist them in their search. Searching the database provides those looking to register a trademark not only information as to whether a similar one already exists, but also allows them the view the contact details, trademark registration status and name of the proprietor who made the filing.
Users can also limit the classes of trademarks and enter details into additional search fields for a more advanced search. Images and part words are all searchable. On receiving the search results, if the trademark application status shows up as never registered, removed or refused, then there is a high likelihood few difficulties will be encountered in registration. However, a pending or registered status is likely to present greater challenges to registration, given that action has successfully or is being taken to try and register a trademark similar to the one the searcher is looking to lodge.
There is also the option of having search results emailed for later reference as opposed to having to log in to view them online.
2. How to consider your own trademark?
Searching is a key step in considering the eligibility of a trademark for registration. The key items to look for while doing so is whether a is whether there exist marks similar or identical in nature to yours, if it includes goods and services like those of your trademark and if it has been filed before yours.
When conducting a search, it’s useful to bear in mind the central features of the mark and the keywords associated with these to produce more relevant search results. Common misspellings, acronyms and other word variations should also be factored in for good measure.
3. How to develop your search strategy?
Given the multiple components of carrying out an extensive trademark search, it is also advisable to put together a search strategy or checklist to maximise effectiveness. For such a checklist, it is important to remember that there are certain elements that ATMOSS doesn’t recognise in search fields, those being punctuation marks and spaces. Naturally, the more detailed the description of the mark the more encompassing the search outcome is likely to be.
To ensure a wider range of search results, it is also preferable to split words into two and search for each word or multiple individually if your trademark contains multiple of each.
4. How to interpret search results?
One of the critical examinations to make when interpreting trademarks is the similarity of the registered or pending trademarks to yours. This is more than just a visual comparison and extends to how to words in the trademark may be pronounced and how they relate to the images of other trademarks. If they are too similar or may cause confusions, this decreases the chances of registration. Any link that can be made between the idea of a trademark which is sought to be filed and another already registered trademark should also be noted as a potential issue.
When looking at the class of goods and services in this assesment, attention should be given to the origins of the goods and service, what those goods and services actually consist of, the business that use the goods and services and the purpose of those goods and services.
Identifying any potential trademark issues in the prelimary search helps ensure there are not unnecessary delays later down the track when a mark is brought before a trademark examiner for closer inspection. Questions about how to make detect trademarking issues in the search stage? Call our trademarking lawyers on 1300 544 755