How to Conduct a Trademark Search
- Before you file your application for trademark registration, it is necessary that you undergo a comprehensive trademark search of trademark databases to ensure that your mark is available for registration.
- A trademark search will reveal both registered and unregistered marks within Australia, and whether your mark is identical to, or confusingly similar with, another company’s mark.
While most people are capable of conducting a preliminary trademark search of Australian databases, undergoing and comprehending the results of a comprehensive trademark search can be difficult. IP Australia offers first-time trademark applicants a number of resources so that you can access the necessary information to determine:
- If your proposed mark or logo is available for registration;
- If your proposed mark or logo is eligible for trademark protection and;
- If the use of your proposed mark or logo will infringe on the rights of an existing trademark holder.
These trademark search resources will provide you with a general overview of similar trademarks currently circulating within your specific marketplace. You are able to search IP Australia’s databases at no cost: however, it does pay to seek the advice of a trademark professional when you are conducting in-depth searches. Properly comprehending the results of a trademark search is a difficult task. We offer you the service of conducting both preliminary and comprehensive trademark searches at a fixed cost rate.
The Trademark Search Resources Available to You
There are a number of search resources offered by IP Australia that you can utilise in your own time.
- ATMOSS (Australian Trademarks Online Search System: The ATMOSS database helps you search for similar or identical trademarks to your own. It will provide you with the most important information about these marks. This search includes such results as: Words, Images, Trademark owner details, Goods and services claimed under trademarks
- Classification Search: This trademark search enables you to look up goods and services descriptions included in the Nice Classification List. It also gives you access to IP Australia’s Office Determinations. The Classifications search helps you in decided with class or classes your specific goods or services will be filed under.
- Trademark Check: If you are registering your business name as a trademark, this trademark search will reveal whether or not your business name infringes on pre-existing marks that are identical to or confusingly similar with your proposed mark.
- Trademarks Image Viewer: This tool is designed to view any trademarks that include images or elaborate typescripts.
- Australian Surname Search: This search is provided by the Australian Electoral Office. Ordinarily, you cannot register your surname as a trademark. However, with this search tool, you may be able to register your name if it is considered uncommon. To register your surname as a trademark, your search must reveal less than 500 instances of your name being used by other people.
- Trademarks Mainframe: The mainframe database includes the register of trademarks. It records all marks that are registered within Australia and protected by trademark legislation.
- Business Names Applicant Search: This is a trademark search that will only provide you with details on business name availability. You should conduct this search before you attempt to register your business name with ASIC. This service is not indicative of whether or not your business name is eligible for trademark registration.
Conducting a trademark search requires patience, skill, and persistence. When conducting a trademark search, you need to be able to identify marks that are similar to your own, not just those marks which are identical. You should seek the advice of a trademark professional before you complete your trademark search.
Here is some advice for conducting your own trademark search.
Conducting a Trademark Search with ATMOSS
The Australian Trademarks Online Search System (ATMOSS) is accessible via the IP Australia website. This trademark search allows you to view all of the current registered trademarks, along with all pending applications and records of their progress. You can save your search results for future viewing if you log onto IP Australia’s website as a member. You can access these search results without membership: however, you will be unable to record your results for future access.
This is a default trademark search setting as it will search for plurals and fragments of words. For instance, if you were to search the word ‘captain’, your trademark search results would yield words such as ‘captain’ and ‘captains’. You can conduct a specific word search to exclude related words: however, you should search with the most descriptive words included in your trademark to uncover the best results.
This trademark search function allows you to view similar marks to your own by selecting the appropriate trademark number. During your Word/Image trademark search, you should also look for phonetic variations of the word you are searching with. For example, if you were using the word ‘Christmas’, you might also search for variations of the word including: ‘Xmas’, ‘Kristmas’, ‘Kristmus’, et cetera.
When you are doing a trademark search with ATMOSS, you will find that the search fields only permit a single word per field and will not support punctuation or spacing. If you enter two words into a single field, such as ‘hotel room’, you will receive an error notice. You must enter ‘hotel’ into a single field, and ‘room’ into another.
To conduct an image search, you will need to search under both exact and partial image options. To be successful in your search, ensure that you enter the most descriptive words included in your image as your key terms. For example, instead of simply searching for ‘bear’, you might search for ‘bear’ as well as ‘panda’.
Conducting a Number Trademark Search
ATMOSS allows you to follow to progress of trademark applications. When you have a trademark application number and you want to view its progress, you can enter this number under the ‘Trademark Number’ search field.
Conducting an Owner Trademark Search
You can search for trademark owners through ATMOSS with a basic or advanced search. The advanced search option allows you to search under ‘Owner’, ‘Opponent’, ‘Non-Use Applicant’ or ‘Claimed Interest Name’.