Look before you leap | Australian Trade Mark Search

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Before you do anything, think about an Australian trade mark search.  Whether you are looking to develop / launch a new brand or apply for a trade mark registration, it is best to do so, from an informed position.

The purpose of a trade mark search is to identify, anticipate and possibly overcome an obstacle to use or registration.  The effort or expense associated with a search pales in comparison to the cost, effort and expense in relation to a dispute, possible liability and rebranding.  A search of the trade mark databases is therefore a worthwhile investment.

For Australian businesses, an Australian trade mark search is the logical first step.

A trade mark search is an excellent first step & worthwhile investment

For years IP Australia’s online search system ATMOSS has provided users with an accessible free search tool.  However, this has been refined and IP Australia has now launched its new Australian Trade Mark Search system which replaces the current search system ATMOSS.

The Australian Trade Mark Search system can be found here IP Australia

The new Australian Trade Mark Search system keeps the best features of ATMOSS and delivers improved advanced search views, a simple search option and new image search functionality.

Trade mark searching is deceptively simple.  It is very straightforward for an exact match or identical search.  However, search techniques become much more complex when a search endeavours to identify visual, phonetic and conceptual equivalents.

An image search for a graphic, logo or artistic work is particularly complex.  Much depends on how an image is indexed by the Trade Marks Office onto its system.  Sometimes this highly subjective process of identifying possible indexing can be akin to a Rorschach Ink Blot Test.  Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

However, the Australian Trade Mark search comparison functionality provides notable advancement.  This uses searching technology from Australian trade mark technology business TrademarkVision (refer TMVision )  The existing method in ATMOSS of searching for images using Australian indexing terms has not been replaced.  Image comparison searching is available:

  • You can upload an image and the system will return results based on visual similarity.
  • When you upload the image, you can segment (crop) the image to focus on a particular aspect. It may suggest segmentation as a default. You can drag and drop the selector to search more or less of the image at once.
  • If the system finds results with high enough confidence ratings, it will suggest image indexing terms that may be relevant.
  • You can combine the image comparison search with any other available search criteria.

Given that there are over 60,000 trade mark filings in Australia per annum, this new enhancement to the free trade mark search system is a welcome advancement for all users.

The Australian Trade Mark Search system is a sensible first step in relation to any branding or trade mark issue.  For more information and specialised assistance on trade mark searching, please contact us at Gestalt Law.

Further reading
Broadly Speaking - Breadth of Goods and Services Specifications in AU and NZ Trade Marks
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