Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions for Trade Marks

What is a trade mark?

A trade mark is any sign which can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. A Trade Mark can be a word, letter, number, symbol, shape, logo, design, scent or phrase. Trade marks help consumers to recognise the origin or source of the goods or services being offered. A trade mark can also become a signifier of the quality of the goods and services on offer.

Do I really need to register a trade mark? What are the advantages?

Registration of a trade mark is not legally required but is highly recommended. It will give you the exclusive right to use the same or similar trade mark for the designated goods and/or services. In other words, you will have the right to stop others (such as your competitors) from using the same or similar mark. Further, a registered trade mark is an asset which means you can exploit it by selling, licensing etc.

I already have a company and business name. Do I still need to register a trade mark?

Yes. A business or company name registration does not grant proprietary rights in that name to the business owner. As you do not ‘own’ the name, someone could obtain a very similar business name and you would not be able to stop him/her from using that name. The only way you could prevent them would involve establishing the exclusive right in the name based on reputation, which is very difficult to prove.

How long does the trade mark registration process take?

It takes a minimum of 7.5 months from the date we file a trade mark application to secure full registration in Australia. This is due to the normal time allowed for the application process, the opposition period as well as the conventional obligation to allow an overseas applicant to file an Australian application. Visit our Trade Mark Registration service for more information.

How long does it take for us to file a trade mark application?

We will generally file your trade mark application within 1-2 days of receiving your instructions.

Should I file as an individual or a company?

Your trade mark application can be filed in your personal name or your company name. We can always transfer ownership later. If you are starting a company by yourself but ultimately want it to be in your company’s name, we can file it under your name and transfer it to your company later (or vice versa).

Should I use a lawyer or trade mark attorney to register my trade mark?

Engaging a professional to prepare and file your trade marks and monitor the progress can reduce the likelihood of objections from IP Australia and oppositions from other traders against your application. Incorrect filing or filing with poor specifications may require you to re-file your application with a later filing date. Not only will this increase costs, but your competitor may even register the same mark faster than you, causing very serious problems for your business.

How much does it cost to file a trade mark application in Australia?

The cost of filing a trade mark application varies depending on the number of classes the application will have. Please contact us via email at ip@hhlaw.com.au or telephone +61 2 9233 1411 for quotation. Also visit our Australian Trade Mark Registration page for more information.

How long does registration last?

A trade mark registration lasts for a period of 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely upon payment of renewal fees every 10 years. Be aware that a registered trade mark may be removed from the Register upon request by a third party if the mark has not been used for 3 years.

How do I enforce my rights?

As the owner of a trade mark, you have a range of legal and enforceable rights that allow you to take action against people or companies that infringe your rights. Generally, such action starts with issuing a letter of demand requesting they cease and desist the use of your trade mark or initiate court action immediately. Visit our IP Infringement page for more information.

If I am exporting do I have to register my trade mark in other countries as well?

Each country has its own laws and practices regarding trade marks. So you will need to apply for protection in each country where you wish to register your trade mark, otherwise your mark is vulnerable in the export market. If you export in multiple countries, you can use a Madrid Protocol Application which provides a means of streamlined and cost-effective filing means. Visit our International Trade Mark Registration page for more information.

What's the difference between the (TM) symbol and ® symbol?

The ® symbol shows that the trade mark is registered while the (TM) symbol shows that the word/logo referred to functions as your trade mark, but is not necessarily registered. Note that use of the ® symbol on products in Australia may constitute an offence if the mark is not actually registered in Australia.

For more information, call us today on (02) 9233 1411 or send us an online enquiry.

Disclaimer: This page has been prepared to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create a lawyer/attorney- client relationship. Any information viewed or obtained on this site should not be relied upon as a substitute for detailed legal advice.