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Trade mark registration: How to register a trademark in Australia and protect your business

Updated: May 10

How to register a trademark in Australia

If you want to protect your trademark, you're in the right place. Many Australian business owners choose to handle the trademark registration process themselves.

This guide has everything you need to know about how to file a trade mark application.

An infographic containing the steps to register an Australian trademark

Why you might want to register your trademark

Whether you're starting a new business or running an established Pty Ltd company, registering a trademark is the best way to protect your brand.

A registered trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use the mark on the products and services you choose.

Once your mark is registered, you'll be able to take legal action to stop someone from using a similar trademark in respect of similar goods or services.

About this article

This article doesn't cover the steps you should take before you file, including conducting a trade mark search, or the factors that determine whether your trademark will proceed to registration.

We'll also cover what happens after your application is examined in a separate article, so stay tuned!

Two women next next to each other, viewing images on a laptop
Filing a trademark application in Australia is fairly straightforward.

Applying to register a trade mark in Australia

Obtaining an Australian registered trademark online is straightforward. 

To obtain a trademark for your business name or logo, you will need to file an application through IP Australia's online portal.

Applying for a trade mark involves:

  1. Deciding whether you should apply yourself;

  2. Creating an account via the IP Australia website;

  3. Using the portal to complete the form;

  4. Paying the fees; and

  5. Getting help if you need it.

1. Decide whether you should apply for trade mark registration yourself

The process of applying to register a trademark is fairly straightforward, but there are some things you should know before you proceed with the application.

This guide gives you information about the filing process, but it isn't legal advice. You should consider whether you want to use a trade mark lawyer or trademark attorney to provide legal advice before you file a trademark application. 

If you're not sure, read our full guide on the benefits of filing yourself or using a trademark lawyer.

Importantly, if there is an issue under the Trade Marks Act which is raised by the examiner, it could prevent you from registering your trade mark. It's also not possible to add goods and services after you file, so it's important to get it right the first time.

If you want a hand to register your trade mark, we can help.

Should you file a 'word' or 'logo' trade mark application?

If you use a logo which consists solely of a stylised version of your word trade mark, then prioritising the registration of your word trade mark is your best bet.

A word trade mark protects the words, irrespective of design, stylisation or font

A logo on the other hand protects a specific graphic design that represents your brand, including any font, stylisation or imagery.

Ideally you'd register both, which would safeguard your brand name and the graphical design, ensuring comprehensive coverage

However, if budget is a concern, then as a general rule word trade marks offer more protection

If you register your logo mark and change it in the future, a logo trade mark may not protect your new branding

On the other hand, if your logo is a distinctive part of your brand identity, doesn't contain your word mark and/or is the main trade mark you use, then it might make more sense to start by protecting the logo.

2. Start the trademark registration process: IP Australia's online service

The days of paper forms are behind us - these days, trademark registration is online. Australian trademarks are filed using the eServices portal available on IP Australia’s website

IP Australia is a Government agency responsible for the administration of intellectual property rights, including trademarks. 

It oversees and operates the registers for trade marks, patents, design rights and patents. 

If you want to file an application, you'll first need to log in to an existing account, create a new account, or you can use a MyGovID digital identity to log in.

What can you do on the portal?

The portal enables you to file your application and manage your rights, including to:

  • Apply for and renew an Australian trade mark

  • Make payments

  • Manage your rights

  • Changing ownership (assign) your marks

  • Review correspondence

  • Keep your details up to date

  • File your trademark application and pay the trademark application fees.

A man pays for the trademark application fees, using a credit card while using the other hand to type on a laptop
File your trademark application and pay the trademark application fees using IP Australia's website.

3. Find and complete the form to apply for an Australian trademark

Once you can access the eServices dashboard, you'll see quick links on the left of the page. You can click the "Apply for IP rights" link, which will take you to the page to apply for rights, including trade marks.

You can also start the application process by clicking the link under the "trade marks" menu.

From there, you can file either a 'standard' or a 'TM Headstart' application.

Everything you need to know about TM Headstart:

TM Headstart enables you to get a pre-assessment of your trade mark before you incur the full filing fee. 

An examiner will let you know of any expected issues and give you an opportunity to fix them if possible.

If you want to proceed, you can pay the Part 2 fee to convert it into a standard application.

You will only have 5 days to make changes if necessary and pay the Part 2 fee. If you don't, it will expire.

The total cost of filing under the TM Headstart process is more than the cost of filing under the standard process using the goods and services picklist.

Using this process isn't as common as using the standard filing process in Australia.

Before you apply for a trademark

Before proceeding, IP Australia suggests that you understand:

  • the basics of trade marks;

  • the different classes of goods and services;

  • the examination process; and

  • the costs of applying.

You will also need to select the goods or services you want to protect, so it's good to think about that before you file. 

Before you submit the application, you can save your progress. You should have your trade mark details, owner, and payment details ready before proceeding.

4. Paying the fees 

Once you've completed the form, it will be added to your cart. You'll need to checkout and pay the fees before it is officially submitted for examination. The fee payable will depend on the number of classes you've included in your application. The quickest and easiest way to pay for your trademark is by credit card. Paying immediately will ensure that your trademark progresses as soon as possible.

5. Get help to register your trademark if you need it

If you need help with applying for a trademark, if you receive an examination report, or if you have a trademark issue, contact us today.

You can also sign up to our trademark tips newsletter.

*Please note, the information in this article is general in nature and is not legal advice. You should seek independent legal advice tailored to you and your circumstances


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