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Register A Trademark In Australia | The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Avoid needless costs and legal problems.

Registering a trademark blocks your competitors from using your brand in Australia

Your brand is one of your most important business assets. Registering a trademark stops competitors from either using your brand, or trying to register the trademark in their own name. You’d have an expensive time resolving that. You might even have to rebrand, and risk losing your position in the market.

Trademarks aren’t usually the first thing on a business owner’s to-do list. And in our experience, that stays true right until a trademark problem comes up.

But if a competitor copied your brand today – would you be ready to protect it? If a competitor accused you of trademark infringement today – would you be able to defend against it?

With a registered trademark, you’ll be in a much stronger position.


Registering your trademark in Australia is the most effective way of protecting your brands and business reputation.

In particular, trademark registration grants you the exclusive right to use your mark for the goods or services you’ve registered it for. Once registered, your trademark gives you protection throughout Australia.

You gain the right to take legal action against infringers who try to profit from your company’s goodwill.

In contrast, having only a registered business name provides you with virtually no protection at all.

Registering a trademark blocks your competitors from using your brand in Australia

Your brand is one of your most important business assets. Registering a trademark stops competitors from either using your brand, or trying to register the trademark in their own name. You’d have an expensive time resolving that. You might even have to rebrand, and risk losing your position in the market.

It’s much easier to stop this if you register your trademark. Without registration, taking action against counterfeiters would require you to prove misleading and deceptive conduct or passing off. This is often both difficult and costly (in terms of money and time).

Your registered trademark also places the public on notice of your rights. That tends to be an effective deterrent for would-be infringers. At the same time, in Australia registration also provides an initial defence if others accuse you of infringing their trademarks.

Start your obligation-free trade mark consultation now. It’s the first step toward securing your brand.

Please take a minute to tell us about the brand or logo you’d like to trademark, and we’ll get back to you with initial advice about how you might want to proceed.

A registered trademark is a business asset

In the modern economy, trademarks and their associated goodwill may turn out to be your largest asset.

You can sell or license your trademark, which could potentially bring you an income stream even after you retire. Your bank may accept a registered trademark as a form of security. It will also add to your business’s value if you eventually decide to sell your company.

A good trademark will increase in value as your business grows over time.

In addition, registering your trademark will give you confidence that you can safely invest in developing other intellectual property assets like signs, letterhead and other marketing collateral.

A registered trademark protects your brands from counterfeiters

We all know that the internet and social media make us vulnerable to online infringement.

Counterfeiters (copycats) are people who illegitimately use your brand so they can profit from the reputation and goodwill you’ve built up with your customers.

Worse yet, copycats will often sell lower-quality goods or services, which will damage your company’s reputation and drive your customers away. 


IP Australia Headquarters, CanberraTechnically, a registered trademark is a legally-enforceable intellectual property right granted by the Australian government to the recognised owner. There’s a formal procedure, because a trademark is a legal monopoly on the use of the brand.

While running your business, you’ll use your trademark(s) to distinguish your goods and services from the ones sold by your competitors. Your registered trademark helps customers identify your goods and services so they can tell they’re getting the genuine article.

The trademark itself is a ‘sign’ (usually a name, a logo or a combination of the two).

(Image: the IP Australia headquarters in Canberra)


So long as you comply with Australian trademarks legislation and case law, you can register a trademark in Australia for a very wide range of things, including all of the following:

  • the name of your business
  • the names of your products
  • your logo (eg graphic art with a symbol or drawing)
  • your packaging (‘trade dress’)
  • a distinctive slogan or catch phrase
  • colours
  • sounds
  • a distinctive product shape
  • a scent


Trademark registration is government by the Trade Marks Act 1995, the Trademarks Regulations 1995, and Australian case law. The Trade Marks Office (at IP Australia) is the government body responsible for examining Australian trademark applications.

The first basic requirement is that your proposed trade mark must be able to distinguish your business (within the relevant class of goods and services) from other traders. You won’t be able to register your trademark in Australia if your proposed mark is something that fair-minded businesses would want to use (for example a descriptive word, a geographic name or a common surname).

The second basic requirement is that your proposed trade mark can’t be too close to other trade marks (eg registered trademarks, applications currently being considered, or the marks of businesses with well-known reputations).

It’s possible to get past these requirements if you’re already using your trade mark and can prove that you have a reputation in your market. However, that’s an expensive and potentially tricky job. It’s far easier (and less expensive) to simply choose a trade mark that fits the two basic requirements above.

Under Australia’s trademark legislation, the first applicant to use a mark is entitled to ownership of the mark. If challenged by another trademark owner (or vice versa), you may have to prove that you were the first to use the mark in question.


The easiest way to register a strong, enforceable trademark in Australia is to engage a trademark attorney. Trademark attorneys are registered with (and recognised by) the Australian government as being specially qualified to do trademarks work. A registered trademark attorney can help you with trademark advice, trademark searches, and registering a trademark in Australia. You can also get advice and help resolving trademark infringement and enforcement matters. Most trade mark attorneys offer other related services as well.

The Australian Trademark Registration Process

The first step is to do a trademark search. That’s our opportunity to find out whether your proposed trade mark is actually available to register or use. Searching is a fine art.

Assuming the search is favourable, the next step in the trademark registration process is to file an official application with the Trade Marks Office. Our trade mark attorneys will work with you to correctly specify the classes of goods and/or services that relate to your brand. This ensures your trade mark protection is not too narrow, not too broad, and no more expensive than necessary.

After filing your application, the Trade Marks Office will examine the application in accordance with the trademarks legislation.

If they find any issues with the application, the Trade Marks Office will issue an ‘adverse report’. To overcome those issues, we would then prepare and file submissions or amendments on your behalf.

If there are no objections, or if the objections are satisfactorily overcome, the Trade Marks Office will accept your application and publish (‘advertise’) it online in the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks. This begins the two month opposition period, during which members of the public have the opportunity to raise any issues. Assuming this goes well – and it usually does – your trademark will be officially registered in Australia.

Due to international treaty obligations, the overall process from filing to registration generally takes seven and a half months. Your trademark registration can be maintained so long as you continue using it and pay the renewal fees every 10 years.

[Here’s a more detailed explanation of the trademark application process.]


A registered trademark provides you with exclusive government granted rights to your brand, Australia-wide.

For a start, you get the exclusive right to use your trademark to distinguish your products or services. This is true for offline and online advertising, within Australia.

With a registered trademark, in Australia you are entitled to take legal action against anyone who infringes your rights, including unlawful use of your mark or a confusingly similar mark.

Likewise, you can take legal action against a party that illegitimately uses your mark on their own products and/or services.

This is also true of using your mark in advertising (although use in metadata is an ever-changing matter).

Depending on circumstances, you may be able to stop another business being set up under your trademarked name.


There’s no such thing as an international trademark, but at that link we discuss how to protect your rights overseas. In essence, there are two ways to register a trademark internationally.

First, you can go directly through another country’s trademark application process.

Second, it’s possible to apply via the World Intellectual Property Organization, which (subject to rules) allows your registered Australian trademark to be sent to your designated overseas countries for consideration. If you’re considering an overseas trademark, please speak to us first.

We’d be happy to give some preliminary advice before you start, since these procedures can be complicated and relatively expensive (compared to registering a trademark in Australia).


If you’re considering registering a trademark in Australia, we can help with quick, easy and budget-friendly trademark services. Naturally we’d be glad to have a chat about any other questions you might have about trademark searches. If so, just fill in the form below, let us know your questions, and we’ll get back to you directly.


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help with your trade mark issues