How To Use The Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS) in 6 Easy Steps.
Giving your business a seal of exclusivity after it has started to take off in the market requires you to protect your brand on a legal level. Your are building a strong customer base, but now it’s time to put a stamp of legal approval on it. It’s time to trademark your brand – your ’sign’.
The road to gaining the exclusive rights to a ‘sign’ can be a bit tricky as there is always a possibility that ‘your’ sign has already been approved by the Australian Patent Office, a division of IP Australia, or that someone else has the exclusive right to use the sign.
To avoid such an issue, you have to understand and make use of the Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS). Note: As of February 11 2017, ATMOSS was relaunched as the new ‘Australian Trade Mark Search’ by IP Australia.
The New Australian Trade Mark Search (ATMOSS) will allow you to check:
– if any trademark is strikingly similar or even identical to yours
– if similar competitors sell the same good and services
– if a similar trademark has been applied for before you filed your application, which could also cause you issues.
1. Consider This
It is best advised to create a sign that is closely depicting your brand and is unique in every way, and not a copy or just an alteration of a sign used by another company. Try asking yourself…
What is the main concept behind my sign?
Does my sign convey my brand clearly?
Is my trademark sign too similar to other existing trademarks?Before getting started it is important to know that using the ATMOSS search is not so straight forward as typing in the name of your business and checking for possible matches, there is a lot more to it. ATMOSS can help you track down the signs that could be related and worryingly, similar to yours.
2. Searching on Australian Trade Mark Search (ATMOSS)
You can conduct your search as a guest or a user. Which way you choose depends on how long you would like to have the results of your latest search available for viewing. As a guest, you can only review the search results during your session, while being a user allows you to store the results for longer and go through them any time you want.
Once you have chosen guest or a user, the steps that follow are of utmost significance. As said, typing in the name of your business will not get you far. It has to be a more complex and thorough effort if you want to cover all the bases. There are several ways how to conduct your search to get the best results and it all starts with proper classification of your business.
3. Specific Class Search
As you can see, businesses are categorised in 45 different classes, with the first 34 being goods and the remaining 11 classes being services. This means that your business has to fall under a certain class, and you have to find out which one it is. A list of all classes can be found on IP Australia’s website.
Once you have determined and picked the class you will further be allowed to filter the search terms by selecting the ‘Single’ or ‘Associated’ category. Bear in mind that the ‘Associated’ category will provide a larger number of results, so you might want to stick with ‘Single’ for the first go.
4. Try Different Search Terms
To drill down deeper to find a similar trademark, try as many options that are close to your business’ name, because ATMOSS’ restrictive nature only allows you to search two words in one go. Using similar names, spelling and even parts of the word which can be selected in a drop down menu, will cover all the trademarks you are looking for – the ‘deceptively similar’.
5. Advanced Search Feature
ATMOSS has recently upgraded their search function with an ‘Advanced Search’ filter which allows you to input an array of information such as words, dates, images and names to help you dig deeper in your search.
6. Verify The Status of the Trademark
If you encounter a trademark, or a number of trademarks that could pose a problem in progressing your own trademark, the next level in your research is to check the status of each trademark. If a similar trademark’s status is registered and valid, or even pending, you are likely to have issues with registering your sign.
For you to have no issues at all, its best to only proceed with a trademark that has not been previously registered, removed or refused.
However, a final note of caution. Even if you do the most thorough research registering your trademark depends on IP Australia’s examination of your application.
If you would to a legal professional to guide you through the process for a more solid clarification on your trademark, please browse through our directory of business, commercial and corporate lawyers who are happy to help you out.
For a more localised search of a lawyer in/near your suburb, please feel free to use our lawyer search function.