Are My Trade Mark Application Documents Publicly Available?
The trade mark registration process can at times be long and complex. So, naturally, a substantial amount of paperwork results from this process. For example, these documents may include your application itself, documents arising from the examination process and reminder notices of impending deadlines.
Therefore, if you have a trade mark and are concerned about your privacy, this article will take you through which trade mark documents are available to the public.
When Will My Documents Become Available?
There are several steps involved in registering a trade mark, each with its own rules about the availability of your trade mark application documents.
Once you have applied for a trade mark through IP Australia, your contact information will be available online. Additionally, if IP Australia accepts your application, they will advertise your trade mark in IP Australia’s Offical Journal of Trade Marks,
After your trade mark is registered, it will be viewable on the trade mark register. At this point, IP Australia will publish your entire trade mark registration details and your personal or business details.
Why Are My Documents Made Available?
Your trade mark application documents are made publicly available because it is likely that third parties will want to view them. There are several reasons why this might occur. For example, a competitor business may want to check that their trade mark will not infringe yours, and they require further detail. Alternatively, a competitor business may want to oppose your trade mark.
What Documents Are Publicly Available?
Any documents or information that does not contain confidential information is available for public viewing. Typically, this information is available for a fee.
Information that is available for purchase includes:
- the names and contact addresses of a trade mark applicant or owner;
- the signature of the declarant of a trade mark application;
- names of witnesses to a declaration; and
- marketing materials that are publicly known and relevant to a trade mark application.
Documents that are available for purchase include:
- trade mark applications (including information relating to expedited examinations);
- information relating to an examination report;
- information relating to the opposition of trade mark registration (including any notices of intention to oppose and statements of grounds and particulars); and
- applications for time extensions.
Therefore, you will not be able to make this information private, as you cannot claim that this information is confidential.
What Documents Are Not Publicly Available?
Confidential documents will not be made publicly available. For example, this may include:
- declarations as part of requests for extensions of time;
- declarations as part of requests for expedited examinations; and
- documents that demonstrate evidence of trade mark use.
Therefore, most information is available for public purchase. However, there are very limited circumstances that a Registrar will accept documents in confidence.
Where is this Information Available?
Trade marks filed before 27 March 2007 must be requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act). Documents for trade marks filed after this date are still partially required to be requested under the FOI Act. For example, you can request any documents that have sensitive or personal information under the FOI Act. Additionally, this is a relatively simple process, as you do not need a reason to access this information.
On the other hand, certain information is available on file and does not require an FOI request to be accessed.
Cost of Documents
Depending on the information you are seeking, the cost to access information relating to your trade mark application differs. For example, see the tables below for more information:
|Access to 1-3 documents (from the same file)||$50 per document|
|Access to 4+ documents (from the same file)||$200|
You can find the cost of FOI documents below:
|Search and Retrieval Time||$15.00 per hour|
|Decision Making Time||$20.00 per hour|
|Copies of documents||10 cents per page|
|Copy of a Video||$20.00 per copy|
|Copy of a CD||$5.00 per copy|
|Transcript||$4.40 per page|
|Inspection||$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)|
|Postage||$1.45 / 1 – 50 pages|
$2.45 / 51 – 100 pages
$7.55 / 101 – 200 pages
$8.10 / 201 – 400 pages
Credit: table sourced from IP Australia
It is important to consider that your trade mark application documents will be available to the public. Therefore, it is only in very limited circumstances that IP Australia will hold your trade mark application documents in confidence. For instance, some key things to keep in mind include the:
- information that is available for purchase;
- documents that are available for purchase;
- methods to access these documents and information; and
- cost of accessing these documents and information.
If you have any concerns about your trade mark application documents, get in touch with our experienced trade mark lawyers. You can contact them on 1300 657 423 or by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most information and documents relating to your trade mark application will be made publicly available for a fee. For example, this includes your personal or business details, trade mark application and any information relating to examination reports or oppositions.
In limited circumstances, IP Australia will hold your trade mark application information in confidence. For example, this includes declarations as part of requests for extensions of time and expedited examinations and documents that demonstrate evidence of trade mark use.