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ClearNews December 2010

A short survey on New Products

Cleardocs is constantly looking for ways to improve and expand the product range that we offer to our customers.  In order to do this, we'd like to know if and how you use certain documents.  We would greatly appreciate it if you could assist us by completing a short survey.  The survey contains 7 questions and should not take you more than 5 minutes to complete.

Click here to do the survey

Cleardocs site relaunch

The Cleardocs site was relaunched on October 6 with a great new look and some new features that we hope you have found useful.  If you're interested in finding out more about the new features, please click here to read a post on the Cleardocs blog about the new features.

Two weeks after the relaunch we sent a survey to our customers who had logged into the new site, asking them for feedback on the changes.  We are pleased to say that the new site was well received, and are already working on some further improvements to the menu system.

The changes to the site were made as a result of feedback from our customers, so if you have any further suggestions for how we can improve the site we would love to hear them.

If you have visited the Cleardocs site since the relaunch and would like to give your feedback, please click here to complete our short survey.

Cleardocs Christmas trading

You can continue to purchase documents online 24/7 right throughout the festive season.  The Cleardocs helpline will operate as usual, except on the Christmas, Boxing day and New Years Day public holidays.

The Maddocks legal helpline will be closed for the Christmas break between December 24 2010 and January 10 2011.

Whilst printed documents will continue to be delivered throughout the Christmas period (except on public holidays) common seals ordered over the Christmas period will not be dispatched until the 3 rd of January.

Coming soon to Cleardocs — Send an approval request email to your supervisor from the Cleardocs site

Soon Cleardocs will give you the option to email supervisors or colleagues a link to the summary page of a document — so they can approve the order before you pay.

By clicking a link on the summary page, you will be able to send a supervisor or colleague a customisable email with a link to the summary page of the document. The summary page is shown after the interface has been completed, but before payment is made. If the supervisor needs to make any changes, they can do so before the document is paid for and completed.

To open the link in the email so they can view the summary page and make any changes, the supervisor will need the username and password of the account that the document was created in.

Coming soon to Cleardocs - Trademarks

In the coming weeks, Cleardocs will launch an exciting new service – Trademark Registration.  For many of our customers, registering a company with Cleardocs is the first step in starting a business.  Many people wish to protect their unique business or product names, which trademarking allows.

What sort of trademark can you apply to register through Cleardocs?

You will be able to use Cleardocs to apply to register as a trademark an English word or name etc.

However, when you apply to register a trademark you need to keep in mind that registering any of the following may be hard (expensive) and perhaps impossible:

  • words which are descriptive or which are commonly used; or
  • words which are substantially identical, or deceptively similar, to an existing trademark for similar or closely related goods and services.

Also, the law makes it impossible to register some words, for example, "ANZAC" or anything that might be scandalous or misleading.

For what sort of goods or services can you register the trademark?

Trademarks are registered for goods and services. For example, "Apple, Inc." might register its trademarks for "computers, mp3 players, mobile phones". All goods and services are divided into official classes.

So when you apply to register a trademark, you need to choose the classes in which you apply. Our interface includes an interactive tool to help you work out which classes to apply for.

Does the trademark need to be in use?

To apply to register a trademark, you need to confirm either that:

  • the trademark is being used by the applicant (or with his or her consent) in relation to the relevant goods or services stated; or
  • the applicant intends — in good faith — that to happen.

In which country can you apply to register a trademark through Cleardocs?

You can use Cleardocs to apply to register a trademark in Australia.

A trademark registration is effective only in the country in which it is registered — so a registration in Australia doesn't help protect your trademark in any other country.

What is the process for registering a trade mark?

Registering a trademark in Australia involves a 3 stage process and takes at least 7.5 months.  After lodging your trademark application, it is reviewed by IP Australia.  During this time the details of your proposed trademark will be advertised in the Official Journal of Trade Marks. This is to allow people with concerns to object to the registration of your trademark.  They have 3 months from the date of the advertisement in which to object (an objection is known as an "opposition"). Opposition to a trademark application is rare, but if anyone raises an objection, then that can delay things and it can be expensive to resolve. Before you apply to register a trademark, it is worth searching public information (for example, the internet) to make sure that nobody else is using the trademark you have in mind.

How much does the registration process cost?

IP Australia and Cleardocs each charge a fee for both the application (at the start) and the registration (at the end).  You also need to consider the potential costs:

  • of handling any issues raised during the Examiner's process (these are impossible to estimate now — and are often zero); and
  • of renewing the registration when it expires after 10 years.

This table shows the costs:

Australian Trademark application and registration costs 
Stage Cleardocs fee (inc. GST) IP Australia fee (no GST payable) Total (inc. GST) When due


When you apply to register — that is to start the process (perhaps today)

For the first class $352 $160 $512 When you apply (perhaps today)
For each other class $77 $160 $237

Review (known as Examination)

Possible costs of responding to any requests from the Examiner or to any objections

During the Examiner's review, you may need to respond:

  • to the Examiner's request for more information and evidence etc; or
  • to someone's opposition to your application.

It is impossible to say now whether either of these will happen, but such issues are rare.

Preparing these responses can be expensive. Instead of responding, you can choose to do nothing — in which case your application would lapse.

We can arrange for an adviser to help you prepare a response to the Examiner or a response to an objection. Normally, that adviser provides those services on a "fixed fee" basis — giving you certainty and confidence.

Before the adviser does any work on your behalf, they give you an idea of the fees. However, it is impossible to estimate those costs now.

During the Examiner's review.

Fees are normally payable in advance.


At the end of the IP Australia review, you pay the registration fee (if you want your trademark registered)

For the first class $440 (registration lasts 10 years) $250 $690 At the end of IP Australia's review — that is, at least 7.5 months after you apply
For each other class $11 (registration lasts 10 years)




10 years after the trademark is registered

For each class $400 (renewal lasts 10 years) $300 $740 At renewal — that is, 10 years after the trademark is registered

Cleardocs MD speaks at plain-language conferences in Portugal and Canada.

In October, the Cleardocs Managing Director, Christopher Balmford, was a keynote speaker at plain-language conferences in Portugal and Canada. You may have spoken with Christopher on the Cleardocs helpline —he handles the calls for half a day a week.

The plain language learning from these conferences helps Cleardocs as it strives to make its interfaces, its resources, and the document packages it provides, live up to its brand – Clarity, Simplicity, Ease of Use.


The conference in Portugal was hosted, in Lisboa, by Clarity — an international association promoting plain legal language. Christopher is the President of Clarity

You can view the conference website here.

The highlights of the conference, Christopher said, were:

  • the sessions on design — the International Institute for Information Design, supported by the conference.  You can view their website here .
  • the prominence of testing draft documents with readers to make sure they are clear and to see how they can be made clearer;
  • the Portuguese government initiatives about plain language that the conference triggered; and
  • the public debate involving the legal profession that the government's initiatives generated.


The conference in Canada was hosted, in Montreal, by Éducaloi — a non-profit organization providing legal information in everyday language.

Éducaloi's aim through the conference was to help encourage business, government and the legal world to recognise the benefits and validity of plain language.

To help achieve that aim, Christopher spoke of the work he did through his plain-language consultancy business Words and Beyond Pty Ltd .