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ATMOSS – IP Australia – Australian Trade Mark Search

What is the Australian Trade Mark Search?

The Australian Trade Mark Search is a directory provided by IP Australia to assist with trade mark searches. The Australian Trade Mark Search is the successor of the former Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS).

The Australian Trade Mark Search is an essential tool for performing initial trade mark enquires. For example, users can search for any existing trade marks that are registered in the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks (AOJTM). Further, users can also search for expired trade marks, or trade marks that have recently been lodged but not yet registered.

Trade Mark Searches 

Trade mark searches are an important initial investigation that should be conducted before attempting to register a trade mark as it can reveal other trade marks that may prevent your sign as being accepted for a trade mark.

How to do a Trade Mark Search?

Conducting trade mark searches is not as simple as it sounds. For starters, you must know what to search for and in what classes. As a first step though, you should search for the trade mark you wish to register. For example, if you are seeking to register a trade mark for ‘XYZ’ you should search for ‘XYZ’ in the relevant classes. This can reveal whether there is a conflicting mark.

Though, if the initial search reveals no conflicting marks, you should also try searching for variations that may conflict with your mark. In the example above, you may search for ‘YXZ’ to see if there may be a conflicting mark. You should also search for trade marks that may be visually or phonetically similar to your mark. This can be a difficult task, as there may be a more than a few variations to consider. Taking the above example, you may do a search for ‘EX YZ’, as this is likely to be phonetically similar to ‘XYZ’ as they sound the same when pronounced. Though, importantly, as the search becomes broader, generally, the results may not always be indicative of a conflicting mark.

Trade Mark Classes

As part of your trade mark search, you need to consider what classes of goods or services are relevant to your desired trade mark. This is an important consideration, and it can have disastrous consequences if you get it wrong. As trade mark protection only protects you mark in the registered classes, it is necessary to reflect upon the goods or services that you may wish to cover both now, and in the future in relation to your brand. It may be desirable to register your trade mark in multiple classes. There are 45 classes of goods and services, which are separated by goods (i.e. classes 1-34) and services (i.e. classes 35-45).

Take-away points

After you have decided which classes pertain to your trade mark, you should filter your search by including the relevant classes, which will help to narrow your results. You can do this by performing an advanced search on the Australian Trade Mark Search, keeping in mind the below points:

  • Ensure that you are certain of the relevant classes to which you wish to protect your trade mark
  • Consider different variations of your desired mark to ascertain whether there may be a competing mark
  • Remember that trade mark searches may not always reveal competing trade marks, particularly if they are not performed with skill and expertise.

Sam Gilbert, IP and Technology Consultant, B.A., LL.B  University of Technology, Sydney

 If you would like to know more about this article or trade marks in general, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the team at W3IP Law on 1300 776 614 or 0451 951 528.
Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.

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