Why register a trade mark in Australia?
Registering your organisation's logo, or name, as a trade mark in Australia:
- means that your organisation "owns its brand";
- gives your organisation the exclusive right to use the registered trade mark for the classes of goods or services under which the trade mark is registered; and
- is a real advantage if you ever want to sell the organisation — any potential buyers are likely to be
reassured by the fact that your organisation's key intellectual property assets are properly registered and protected.
Why use Cleardocs to register a trade mark in Australia?
1. Help with choosing which classes you need to register for
The Cleardocs trade mark application process involves you using our online, interactive tool that helps you to
easily work out — or just think about — the classes of goods and services for which to apply to register
your trade mark. You can use that tool before you need to pay — so if you'd like to trial the tool, then
start a trade mark order here and have a go. It's easy and free to try; and
2. Preliminary review by Remarqueble Pty Ltd
After you complete your trade mark application on Cleardocs, we arrange a preliminary review before your application
is officially filed. The review is conducted by Remarqueble Pty Ltd, the organisation that provides the technology to
handle the application and registration through Cleardocs.
The preliminary review may lead to a recommendation that you either change your application to make it more easily
registrable or cancel your application as it is likely to be rejected by the Government's trade marks examiner. If
the preliminary review knocks out your application and you choose not to proceed, then we will refund the Government application fee.
In all cases, registration is ultimately a question for the trade marks examiner. After the examination, you will
receive a detailed letter outlining the examiner's decision. The Government application fees are not refundable if
the examiner rejects the application.
What sort of trade mark can you apply to register through Cleardocs?
You can use Cleardocs to apply to register a logo or an English word or name etc as a trade mark.
Shape, colour, sound, or scent? Although it is possible to register a shape, colour, sound, or scent as a
trade mark, you cannot do that online through Cleardocs. To register a shape, colour, sound, or scent, you need to
provide substantial evidence of the potential trade mark's reputation in the marketplace — doing this can be expensive.
If you would like to speak with someone about registering a shape, colour, sound, or scent, as a trade mark, then
please call Cleardocs on 1300 307 343. We will arrange for you to have a free 10 minute phone call with experts who can explain what's
What types of trade marks are difficult to register?
Registering any of the following as a trade mark may be hard (expensive) and perhaps impossible:
- words which are descriptive or which are commonly used — they may not be considered distinctive enough.
To register those trade marks, you would need to provide evidence that when people think of that word of phrase,
etc., they think of your organisation (and not of anyone else); and
- words which are substantially identical, or deceptively similar, to an existing trade mark for similar or closely
related goods and services — if you try to register a trade mark that is substantially identical, or
deceptively similar, to an existing trade mark for similar or closely related goods and services, then you will most
likely need to amend your description of goods and services so that it does not overlap with the existing trade mark.
You also need to be aware that the owner of an existing trade mark may object to the registration of the trade mark
you wish to register.
Also, the law makes it impossible to register some words, for example, "ANZAC" or anything that might be scandalous or
For what goods and services can you register the trade mark?
Trade marks are registered for goods and services. For example, "Apple, Inc." might register its trade
marks for "computers, mp3 players, mobile phones".
All goods and services are grouped into official classes. So when you apply to register a trade mark, you need to
select the classes relevant to you.
Our application process includes an interactive, online tool to help you choose — or just think about —
the classes for which you want to apply to register the trade mark.
The preliminary review mentioned at the top of this page checks to see whether the classes of goods and services for
which you have applied to register the mark are in the right classes.
Who can apply to register the trade mark?
When you apply to register the trade mark, you need to apply in the name of the person who will own the mark. So, our
interface asks you whether you are applying:
- in your company's name;
- in your own name;
- in your client's personal name; or
- in your client company's name.
Does the trade mark need to be in use?
For the trade mark to be registered, it must be either:
- being used by the applicant (or with his or her consent) in relation to the relevant goods or services stated; or
- intended — in good faith — to be used by the applicant (or with his or her consent) in relation to the
relevant goods or services stated.
What is the process for registering a trade mark in Australia?
1. You apply to IP Australia to register the trade mark
If you use Cleardocs to apply to register your trade mark, then:
- we arrange the preliminary review outlined at the top of this page; and
- if the trade mark passes the preliminary review (or is amended during that review), we arrange for your
application to be officially lodged with IP Australia.
IP Australia is the Commonwealth government body that administers Australia's intellectual property rights system
for trade marks, patents, etc.
2. IP Australia reviews your application
IP Australia reviews your application to make sure the trade mark is registrable etc. and whether it
conflicts with any other existing applications or registrations. This review is done by a person referred to as the Examiner.
If the Examiner accepts your application, the details of your application will be advertised in the Official Journal of Trade
Marks. This is to allow people with concerns to object to the registration of your trade mark. They have 2 months
from the date of the advertisement in which to object (an objection is known as an "opposition").
Opposition to a trade mark application is rare, but if anyone raises an objection, then that can delay registration
and it can be expensive to resolve. Before you apply to register a trade mark, it is worth searching public
information (for example, the internet) to make sure that nobody else is using the trade mark you have in mind.
3. IP Australia registers the trade mark
If there are no objections, or any objections are resolved in your favour, IP Australia will
register your trade mark.
Is there a chance that your application will be rejected? Yes, the Examiner may reject your
application for various reasons — for example, as explained above, if the mark is deceptively similar to an
already registered trade mark; too descriptive; too common; scandalous; misleading; or protected by law.
If the application is rejected and you cannot, or do not want to, amend the goods and services or provide further information about prior use of the trade mark, then the fees you have paid
(to Cleardocs and to IP Australia) are non-refundable. To reduce this risk, we arrange for the preliminary review by Remarqueble Pty Ltd
outlined at the top of this page. Nearly all applications that pass that preliminary review are accepted (very few
are rejected). During the preliminary review, the reviewer may contact you if they think that your application may
be rejected. If they do that, then you will have the opportunity to cancel your order and to receive a compete refund
of your fee (including the IP Australia fee).
How long does the government process take?
The government process takes at least 7.5 months — even if everything goes smoothly.
What date does your trade mark protection apply from?
Normally, your trade mark protection applies from the date you apply to register the trade mark (assuming it ends up
being registered). However, if have you applied in another country to register the trade mark in the previous 6 months,
then you may be able to back date the application you make through Cleardocs to the date of the earlier application.
This process is not automatic — if you would like further information, then please call us on 1300 307 343 and
we will arrange for you to have a free 10 minute phone call with experts who can explain what's involved.
Can you use Cleardocs to make a "series application" to register a trade mark?
A series application is when you have several nearly identical trade marks that form a series of marks —
for example: "Idak Clothing", "Idak Footwear", "Idak Headgear". If you want to apply
for a "series application", we can assist you. Please call Cleardocs on 1300 307 343.
How much does it cost to register a trade mark in Australia through Cleardocs?
IP Australia and Cleardocs each charge a fee for the application (at the start).
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
- the fees for renewing the registration when it expires after 10 years.
You also need to remember that if your application passes the preliminary review mentioned at the top of the page,
then the fees (for both Cleardocs and IP Australia) are non-refundable. That is so even if, for example, your application
is rejected or if you decide not to register the trade mark at the end of the application process. (Remember, if during
the preliminary review the reviewer thinks that your application may be rejected, then you have the opportunity to cancel
your order and to receive a full refund of your fee.) After the trade mark has been accepted, there are no government fees for registration.
This table shows the costs:
Australian Trade Mark application and registration costs
|IP Australia fee (no GST payable)
||Total (inc. GST)
When you apply to register — the start of the process (perhaps today)
|For the first class
||When you apply (perhaps today)
|For each other class
IP Australia Review (known as "Examination")
Possible costs of responding to any requests from the Examiner or to any objections
|During the Examination, 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. However, 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.
Seek legal advice
The Trade Mark Application information here should be considered general in nature, and in no way interpreted as legal
advice. You must always seek your own independent legal, accounting and financial advice about your particular situation.
The summary on this page is for information purposes only.