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IP Report 2020 on Trade Mark Filing Statistics in Australia and Overseas

A trade mark is a way for customers to recognize your unique product or service from your competitors. A trade mark is not just ‘a logo’, it is your brand. It can be in the form of a letter, word, phrase, number, sound, shape, smell, logo, movement, picture, aspect of packaging, or a combination of these.

A registered trade mark protects your exclusive rights to use, license and sell the mark from others who might want to use it for themselves. It’s also a profitable marketing tool because the value of your trade mark increases with the success of your business.

Registered trade marks provides the trade mark owner protection for 10 years and this period can be renewed indefinitely. This process can be easy under the guidance of trademark lawyer.

Trade mark applications and registrations

According to the Australian Intellectual Property Report 2020 published by IP Australia, in 2019, a total of 75,622 trade mark applications were filed in Australia. This is a five percent decrease on application numbers in 2018 which recorded the highest number of applications. For the past two decades, statistics show that trade mark applications have been increasing.

Before a trade mark application becomes registered, it has to be examined against existing registered marks to prevent the filing of same or similar trade marks for the same or closely related goods or services. In 2019, Australia recorded 58,641 trade mark registrations which is a two percent decrease from the number of trade marks registered in 2018.

Resident and non-resident filings

Australian residents filed 44,176 trade mark applications in 2019, making that 58 per cent of the total applications filed in Australia. On the other hand, non-residents filed 31,446 applications, which comprises 42 per cent of all applications. Resident applications were down by four per cent on their level in 2018 while those from non-residents were down six per cent from 2018.

The difference between the number of resident applications from non-resident application has narrowed over the past two decades. From a low base of 30 per cent in 2004, the difference further narrowed with the non-resident share growing by twelve percentage points to 42 per cent in 2019.

Of the total 58,641 registrations filed in 2019, the share filed by residents made up 54 per cent or 31,430 registrations making them the major source of trade mark registrations.

Countries of origin

The leading countries where the non-resident trade mark application came from are the US, China, the UK, Germany and Japan. For both 2018 and 2019, the US was the largest foreign source, comprising 29 per cent of all non-resident applications.

Coming in second is China which has far surpassed other countries for growth in trade mark applications filed in Australia. Filings from the US have grown at an average annual rate of six per cent while applications from China have grown at an annual average of 24 per cent showing a rapid rate of increase between 2014 and 2017, rising to a record high in 2018, then falling 14 per cent in 2019.

Leading applicants

Here are the top-ranking domestic and international applicants for trade marks in Australia in 2019. Filing for the most trade marks is Huawei Technologies, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, with 142 applications, primarily in scientific and technological apparatus and services, advertising and telecommunications.

With 125 applications focused in pharmaceutical and medical products, second is the Swiss multinational Novartis. On third is Apple, with 113 applications in various classes ranging from technological apparatus to financial services. Australian companies came in fourth and fifth. Coles Group, supermarket retail chain operator is fourth, with 112 applications in classes such as brewed drinks, confectionery and condiments, and for trade marks in advertising. Ranked at fifth was Australian gaming machine manufacturer, Aristocrat Technologies, with 106 filings.

There are two ways by which application can be filed, either directly to Australia or they can file a single trade mark in multiple countries, including Australia, via the Madrid system. The Madrid system is almost exclusively used by non-residents so the increase in the proportion of applications filed via this route reflects the growing strength in nonresident filings. So in 2019, 23 per cent of all trade mark applications in Australia were filed through the Madrid system, its share rising from 16 per cent since 2009.

Trade mark classes

Most trade marks in Australia belong to one or several classes of goods and services. These trade mark classes are found under the Nice Classification, the international classification of goods and services, that is comprised of 45 classes.

Since 2002, the concentration of trade mark applications in Australia across classes has been relatively stable. Averaging 1.88 classes per application, a total of 142,543 classes were designated in the 75,622 trade mark applications filed in Australia in 2019. Similarly in 2018, five classes prevailed in the selection, covering 38 per cent of the total.

States and territories

Across the different states and territories within Australia, New South Wales has the largest share of trade mark applications, with 15,967, or 36 per cent of the total in 2019. With two applications for every 1,000 persons in the state, Victoria and New South Wales show that they are both trade mark intensive.

In 2019, the number of applications decreased in 2018 for all states and territories except Tasmania. Applications from Tasmania rose by nine per cent, from 396 to 433.

Takeaway Points:

  • The total trade mark applications of 75,622 filed in Australia in 2019 is a five percent decrease of the total number filed in 2018.
  • Even if the major source of trade mark registrations are still Australian residents, the difference between the number of resident and non-resident applications have been narrowing over the past ten years.
  • The US is the largest foreign source of non-resident trademark application in Australia with China trailing close behind.
  • The top five domestic and international applicants for trade marks in Australia in 2019 are Huawei Technologies, Novartis, Apple, Coles Group, and Aristocrat Technologies.
  • The Madrid system is almost exclusively used by non-residents through which to file a trade mark application in Australia.


Jaclyn-Mae Floro, BCompSc

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

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