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Applying for a trade mark

To be accepted, your trade mark must be a distinctive word, logo, picture or other sign that will clearly identify your goods or service from those of other traders. Made up words, logos or pictures are normally distinctive, unless they have become customary in your line of trade.

You can check to see whether your proposed application is already registered. If there are other marks on register that:

  • Look the same as (or similar to) yours, for the same (or similar) goods or services, or;
  • Sounds the same as (or similar to) yours for the same (or similar) goods or services.

Your application could be opposed at a later date. This could mean that your mark would not be registered and you may have to pay costs. With this in mind, it's important that you check to see whether your trade mark isn't already being used by someone else. You can do this by:

Searching Trade Marks Database:

You can search a trade mark before you are determined to file an application for trademark registration. You should be able to get a rough idea of whether your trade mark is already registered.

You should however note that this service has not been designed as a comprehensive trade mark search facility and should not be used to determine conclusively whether a conflicting trade mark already exists.

To find out what class(es) of goods or services that you want to apply for, please see classification search.

The Trade Mark Application Process:

The trademark application process can be split into the following sections:

  • Step 1: Data Capture;
  • Step 2: Examination;
  • Step 3: Publication.

When the application is submitted, the competent trademark office will check it to make sure it has all the information needed, such as a clear representation of the mark you wish to apply for, a list of the goods and/or services on which you are using the mark, an address for service and a signature. Please note that your application fee cannot be refunded for any reason and you cannot alter your mark after you have submitted your application form.

Your details will be captured onto trademark database. Once your data has been captured, your details including your name and address are open to the public. If you do not want your home address published, please provide us with a different address. The trademark office will send you filing receipt and application number accordingly. As soon as you have an application number you can trace the status of your mark filed with the competent authority.

When the application is complete and the appropriate fee has been paid, it will be sent to an examination team who will examine your mark. One of the official examiners will assess your application based on the requirements of the implementing Trade Marks Act and Trade Marks Rules. The authority will issue an examination report either confirming acceptance or listing our objections and requirements, and provide you with a deadline to reply. You will then have the opportunity to contact the examiner to discuss the objection(s). If there are earlier trade marks that are the same or similar to the one that you have applied for, for the same or similar goods and/or services, the examiner will tell you about them in the examination report.

A period of specified time limit is allowed for you to discuss the case with the examiner and make proposals in writing. Please note that the trademark office can only allow an opportunity for written correspondence.

Once the assigned examiner has accepted your trade mark, the trademark office will publish it in Trade Marks Journal and write to tell you the publication date and the number of that Journal. The trademark office publishes your application in Trade Mark Journal where your details, including your name and address are open to the public. Once it is published, your application will be advertised for a period of time. During this time any of the earlier marks that have been notified, or any other party can oppose your mark. The office will contact you if your application is opposed. Successful opposition could result in your mark not being registered and you may have to pay costs. If no one opposes your application within this period, your mark will become Registered.

If the examiner doesnít raise objections and it isnít opposed, it will normally take around 10-12 months or longer to become registered. If objections are raised, or if your mark is opposed, it can take longer.


Fast Trademark Facts
  • Registering your trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use your mark for the goods and/or services.

  • If you have a registered trade mark you can put the ® symbol next to it to warn others against using it. However, using this symbol for a trade mark that is not registered is an offence.

  • A trade mark must be distinctive for the goods and services you provide. In other words it can be recognised as a sign that differentiates your goods or service as different from someone else's.

  • If you register your trade mark, it is easier to take legal action against infringement of your mark, rather than having to rely on passing off.

"References For All Your Intellectual Property Needs"

Smart Patent, Trademark & Copyright
Volume 10, Issue 02

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