TM Headstart – Test the water with your trade mark application

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IP Australia is the Australian Government agency that administers intellectual property including trade marks.

In recent times IP Australia has been experiencing delays in the general examination of trade marks. Details of the current expected processing times can be found here.

As a result, they have introduced the TM Headstart assessment which is a quick turnaround assessment which will give you an indication of whether the trade mark you want to register is likely to encounter any problems prior to you publicly filing your application.

The purpose of the TM Headstart is to assist you to identify any possible issues that may arise, but it is important to note it does not guarantee registration of the trade mark.

Whilst the process does cost more, it can certainly be a cost saver to avoid mistakes and the risk of paying money unnecessarily as the fees are not refundable.

The process of TM Headstart

  • The request is submitted online.
  • A trade mark examiner will assess it and contact you within five working days with an assessment results report.
  • Based on the report you can then convert your request to an application, make amendments, or decide not to continue with your request.
  • To make an amendment you must log into your account and pay any fees applicable. Most amendments attract a fee as they involve additional assessment by the examiner.
  • To convert your request to an application, you must pay the Part 2 fee through eServices within five working days of the date of your assessment results report.
  • If you do so, your TM Headstart request converts to a standard trade mark application, is published and allocated a filing date.

You will be assigned an eServices account and all correspondence is done through that account.

The following types of marks cannot be assessed in TM Headstart:

  • special kinds of signs
  • series trade marks
  • certification trade marks
  • collective trade marks
  • defensive trade marks
  • divisional applications.

Getting a filing date

Rights in your registration, if successful, start from the filing date.

Once you pay the Part 2 fee, your request is considered filed and will be published.

If you need a filing date immediately you should consider filing the application through the standard trade mark application process instead, which will nominate the filing date when your application is lodged.

Once the Part 2 fee has been made, only very minor changes can be made to your application, so it is important to make changes before paying your Part 2 fee.

How can we help with TM Headstart?

At FC Lawyers we have over 25 years’ experience assisting clients and businesses with their intellectual property needs. Contact us for an obligation free quote on your trade mark and intellectual property needs.

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