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This guide provides a definition of trade marks registered in Australia.
It also outlines the trade mark collections held by the State Library of Victoria, and the relevant indexes for searching, identifying and locating trade marks. Included are links to both print and online indexes, and to registers of trade mark applications and to trade mark representations.
Click on the links to Australian, Victorian and Overseas trade marks for detailed information.
What is a registered trade mark?
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IP Australia defines a trade mark as a right that is granted for a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, and/or aspect of packaging, or any combination of these.
It is used to distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another.
It is legally enforceable and gives exclusive rights to commercially use, licence or sell the goods and services that it is registered under.
Examples of "goods" include vehicles, musical instruments, building materials, furniture, textiles, food and drinks.
Examples of "services" include advertising, telecommunications, transport, education, medical services and legal services.
Trade marks are made up of one or two constituent parts - words and images. For example, Qantas airline is represented by the word Qantas, and the image of a kangaroo. Some trade marks may be represented by either a word or words, or an image or images.
A trade mark registered in Australia is identified by the ® symbol. Unregistered or pending trade marks may use the TM symbol.
In Australia, trade mark registration lasts 10 years, and can be renewed for successive periods of 10 years.
Keeping up to date with trade mark information
Current information relating to trade marks, and other forms of intellectual property (patents, designs, copyright) is available online. The database, SNIPER (Searchable Networked Intellectual Property Electronic Resource), includes articles, conference papers, book chapters and online documents.
SNIPER is indexed on the Informit database, available in the Library, and accessible from home for State Library registered Victorian residents. You can access full text of recent issues of the SNIPER bulletin through IP Australia.
The value of trade marks
Trade marks add value to enterprises or organisations. They aid in distinguishing the goods or services of one organisation from another; and enable the marketing of products and services as being of a certain and consistent quality. For example, think of major Internet, educational, transport, entertainment and sporting brands.
Trade marks generate income, and can have significant commercial value, not only for existing businesses, but also when establishing new businesses.
Historic trade marks are an important primary source for researchers, including business and company historians, intellectual property professionals and researchers, collectors and genealogists.
State Library Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
+61 3 8664 7000
National emblems, including official heraldry and flags, and those of intergovernmental organisations, are prohibited from being registered as trade marks under 'Article 6ter' of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
The Article 6ter Express database is a searchable database of these emblems.