The beta version of the new IP Australia Trade Mark Database search facility was released today, 16 December 2016.

Minter Ellison – Gold Coast Senior Associate Hayley Tarr has tested out the search facility and gives her preliminary thoughts below.

Preliminary thoughts

The new search facility resolves all of the issues with the current ATMOSS search facility that I have found most troubling. In particular:

  • It is possible to search for series marks.
  • It is possible to search for particular goods and services (as it has been in New Zealand for some time, thus finally bringing us up to scratch with our rivals across the Tasman).
  • It is possible to search for images by entering the visual component of the mark, as opposed to image descriptors.

In addition, the new search facility goes above and beyond merely rectifying just these issues. It also:

  • Allows you to search for the address for service.

Previously this was only available (in part) via entry of an attorney code.

  • Allows you to search within the endorsements.

This, for example, allows you to search for marks which have been registered subsequent to the provision of a letter of consent and/or evidence of use.

  • Shows you how many marks are going to appear in your results.

There are 38373 marks in the beta version of the IP Australian Trade Mark Database search facility. This number is clearly displayed and automatically changes when you enter in your search criteria, so you can see even before running the search how many trade marks are going to appear in your results. This saves time, as you won’t run searches that generate an untenable number of results.

  • Allows you to search for divisional marks and marks claiming convention priority.

There are some other differences too. Apparently a maximum of 2000 results will be generated per any one search. Currently the maximum is 500. It is unclear how relevant this will be. It takes a diligent person to search through 500 results as it is, so one would expect that most people would try and amend their search criteria rather than search through up to 2000 results. However, it may be relevant for some large companies that own between 500 and 2000 marks, for example, who want to review all of the marks they own.

Any criticisms? Perhaps it would be useful, and in this beta version of the new search facility it does not yet seem possible, to search for marks which are the home applications/registrations forming the basis for an international trade mark registration.

On the whole, well done IP Australia! The new search facility looks great. Hopefully it goes live soon.