A registered trade mark is a type of intellectual property (IP) right that protects a business's unique brand, products or services.

It can protect a:

  • word
  • phrase
  • logo
  • letter
  • number
  • symbol
  • sound
  • shape
  • image
  • scent.

A registered trade mark provides legal rights to place the ® symbol next to your trade mark, and exclusive rights to use your trade mark in Australia.  

A trade mark is not the same thing as a company name, business name or domain name. 

Benefits of a trade mark

Registering your trade mark gives your business: 

  • Exclusivity: exclusive rights to use the trade mark in Australia. This means no one else in Australia can commercially use your trade mark for the same goods or services you have it registered for. 
  • Protection: the ability to legally deter others from using your trade mark for similar goods and services.
  • Value: the ability to sell your trade mark, or license it for others to use. This is a powerful tool for when you create agreements with producers, distributors, sellers or contractors. The more successful your business becomes, the more valuable your trade mark becomes. 

Check if your trade mark is available

Before applying for a trade mark, you should do a search to make sure the trade mark you want isn’t already registered.

IP Australia’s free trade mark checker tool gives you an indication of existing trade marks that might be similar to your proposed brand or name. From there you can apply to register your trade mark.

Check now

What can't be registered as a trade mark?

IP Australia can't accept trade mark applications for everyday words, phrases or images that directly describe a good or service. These should remain available for all businesses to use. There are also certain words, phrases and images that can't be trade marked, or can only be registered under special circumstances. These include: 

  • common words, phrases and images
  • geographical names
  • common surnames, even if they're your own
  • prohibited signs
  • restricted financial terms.

Ways to use your registered trade mark

Participate in digital communities and online conversations by engaging with your customers through social media and other online channels. This will help you build your brand and monitor negative or misleading information about your business.

Consistent use of your trade mark helps to reinforce your brand identity and build brand recognition.

Using the ® symbol next to your registered trade mark lets others know your protected status and can deter others from misusing it.

Monitor your online presence and track any mentions of your brand. This will help you identify potential issues and act quickly.

Platforms that host digital advertising like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will remove any advertisement that misuses a protected trade mark.

Registering a domain name does not give someone rights to the name. In instances of trade mark infringement, the domain name regulatory body (auDA) may revoke a domain (this applies to the .au country code only).

If you suspect that goods infringing on your trade mark are being imported into Australia, you can lodge a Notice of Objection with the Australian Border Force (ABF) with details of your registered trade mark. This gives the ABF authority to temporarily seize suspected infringing goods.

How long does protection last?

A trade mark is protected in all Australian states and territories for an initial period of 10 years. It can then be renewed every ten years, for a fee. You can renew your trade mark registration 12 months before the renewal date or up to 6 months after.

If you renew after the due date you may have to pay a late fee.

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