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ATMOSS: The Australian Trade Mark Database

The primary function of a trade mark is to designate the origin of products and services so that your customers can reliably find products and services.

A business, whether it be for products, for services, or both, needs to have a name because it is a sign as to how we identify a brand. Of course, you do not want other businesses to use your brand name. The most effective way to secure exclusive rights to a name is to register it as a trade mark. If you have a registered trade mark, others are on notice that you have rights in the name under trade mark law.

Now that you have decided on a brand name that you want people to recognise as your sign in the market, you need to find out whether it is available to register. For this process, you have to understand what the trade marks database is and how to search for other trade marks that could act as a barrier to registration of your trade mark.

What is the trade mark database?

The trade mark database is a catalogue of all applications and registered trade marks in existence. Before you apply for a trade mark, you should use the database to see if any trade mark has already been applied for or registered that is similar to your trade mark or used on the same or closely related goods or services.

You can see the status of a trade mark in the database including whether it is pending or registered, what classifications it was registered for, and the history of the trade mark in the database. You can also search for information on certain trade marks in the global trademark database. For Australia, the local database is called the Australian Trade Mark Online Search System or ATMOSS.

How to use the trade mark database?

An IP professional is best qualified to perform searches and give you advice on clearance searches for trade marks. Quick searches and more advanced search options can be used. You can perform general searches for trade marks that are on the trade marks register and also see whether a trade mark is abandoned, cancelled or lapsed based on targeted search queries. You can search for the status of specific trade marks and by owner or agent details. Criteria may apply such as word check, logo or image check or phonetic searches. You can also use the database to check if your trade mark needs to be renewed soon.

Takeaway points

  • It is not a requirement to have your business name trademarked, but if you plan on doing so, you have to make sure there will be no conflicts with other registered trade marks.
  • Understanding how the trade marks database works and what it is used for is helpful in avoiding mistakes in the application process and in keeping an eye on competitors.
  • Registration is the most effective way to secure exclusive rights in a name.
  • Take proper advice on trade mark searches with expert advisors as there are many pitfalls for the unwary when performing searches.

Svethlana Milanes, ABComm

Contact W3IP Law on 1300 776 614 or 0451 951 528 for more information about any of our services or get in touch at law@w3iplaw.com.
Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.

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