Earlier this year, IP Australia launched its new trade mark search database, aptly named “Australian Trade Mark Search”. This database, replacing the previous ATMOSS system that was adopted in the mid-1990s, has a number of new and useful functions, including the ability to search specifications and conduct image searches. The new database can be accessed here: https://search.ipaustralia.gov.au/trademarks/search/advanced.

IP Australia hasn’t stopped there, and has recently announced the development of a new global trade mark database to rival existing platforms. The TM-Link database, developed in partnership with two major Australian Universities, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Melbourne, is a single, internationally-linked trade mark database. It is a world-first platform that allows users to link trade mark applications across countries. It is hoped that by linking national trade mark data via company names, trade mark text, and trade mark images, businesses will be able to conduct more comprehensive searches and make informed decisions based on global market trends and trade mark availability. IP Australia also anticipates that the database will open up opportunities for global research into brand behaviour, trends, and patterns.

The TM-Link database currently includes trade mark data from Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, and the United States of America. There are plans to expand the database to include data from other major economies including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Japan, and South Korea.

The Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Craig Laundy MP, recently commented that:

“The aim of the project is to provide insights into the foreign trade interests of Australian businesses. By knowing what is already registered in each jurisdiction, companies will be able to make evidence based decisions on if they should enter and if they should register IP in that market. This central database will continue to grow and we hope to include every country that the World Intellectual Property Organization works with.”

To date, IP Australia has contributed 1.4 million trade marks to the database, filed between 1906 and 2015. In contrast, the United States register included 7.4 million trade marks filed between 1884 and 2015.