How Can I Search for Expired Trade Marks?
Protecting the brand of your business is critical to its success. One key way to protect your business’ brand is by registering a trade mark for your brand’s assets. Trade mark registration has a multitude of benefits, including giving you the exclusive rights to use and commercialise your trade mark. Importantly, you must stay on top of your trade mark renewal or risk your trade mark expiring. To help you better understand when your trade mark will expire, this article will explain how you can search for expired trade marks.
When Do Trade Marks Expire?
Trade mark registration in Australia lasts for ten years. After which, you must renew your trade mark with IP Australia and pay the relevant renewal fees. If you fail to renew your trade mark or pay the applicable renewal fees on time, your trade mark will expire.
You have six months after the trade mark renewal date to restore your trade mark rights. After this time, you must pay additional fees for the delay in renewing your registration.
Your trade mark will remain on the trade mark register for these six months. Unfortunately, you will not benefit from any rights you normally would have from your trade mark registration during this period.
If you do not restore your trade mark rights within these six months, IP Australia will permanently remove your trade mark from the register. Unfortunately, if you want the exclusive rights that come from trade mark registration, you will have to start the process from scratch and make a new application.
Can I Search for Expired Trade Marks?
IP Australia’s trade mark search tool ATMOSS is a free, comprehensive search tool where you can find existing trade marks. Generally, ATMOSS is useful for conducting a trade mark search to determine if your trade mark is available for use. However, ATMOSS has a multitude of functions, including searching for expired trade marks.
Indeed, ATMOSS has a search function that allows you to search by trade mark status. These statuses include:
- pending, registered and refused;
- registered and pending;
- removed; and
- never registered.
When searching for expired trade marks, two of these status functions will be relevant. These are:
- registered trade marks; and
- removed trade marks.
The ‘registered trade marks’ status function will include all registered trade marks. This includes trade marks that have expired but still maintain the possibility of renewal. During this time, the owners of these trade marks do not have their full trade mark rights.
On the other hand, the ‘removed trade marks’ status function will show trade marks that have been removed, including those that have been removed for failure to renew or removed for non-use. These trade marks are removed on a permanent basis.
If you are checking if a specific trade mark has expired, you will be able to narrow your search by registration number, business name or number, trade mark class and more. However, if you are searching for expired trade marks more generally, use the advanced search tool to filter all expired trade marks.
Trade marks are an important part of your business intellectual property and maintaining your trade mark registration is key to ensuring maximum protection. Otherwise, your trade mark will expire and you lose exclusive rights to its use. If you wish to search for expired trade marks, you can:
- use IP Australia’s ATMOSS search tool;
- search by trade mark status; and
- narrow your search by using any known identifiers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trade mark registration in Australia lasts for ten years. After ten years, you must renew your trade mark or it will expire. IP Australia will send you information about your trade mark renewal, making it critical you keep your contact details up to date.
If your trade mark expires, you have six months to restore your trade mark rights. You will be required to pay an additional fee for being late to renew your trade mark. If you do not restore your trade mark within these six months, your trade mark will expire permanently. Likewise, IP Australia will remove it from the trade mark register.
IP Australia’s search tool ATMOSS has a search function that allows you to search for trade marks of all statuses, including expired trade marks. You can further narrow your search by searching by trade mark name, the relevant business ABN and more.