Considering that a registered trademark holds significant value as a business asset, it’s important to assess the benefits of having a registered trademark compared to the risks of conducting commercial activities without legal safeguards for your intellectual property.
The cost of registering a trademark varies depending on several factors, making it challenging to provide a precise cost per application. Nonetheless, it is widely acknowledged that the cost of trademark registration in Australia is reasonable.
You have the option to either handle your trademark application yourself or enlist the services of a trademark attorney. Opting for professional assistance can help minimise the potential for additional expenses and offer assurance that you are safeguarding your trademark in the most effective manner.
The Expense of Registering a Trademark
Before you submit your trademark application, it is strongly advisable to conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that your intended mark a) is available and b) does not infringe on the rights of another trader.
There are options for conducting this search for free, or you can opt for more extensive paid searches.
Do-It-Yourself Trademark Registration
In Australia, the administration of intellectual property (IP) rights and trademark legislation is overseen by IP Australia. Any application for trademark protection in Australia must go through this agency.
When it comes to trademark registration through IP Australia, there are essentially two methods available, and their official fees are as follows:
Firstly, there is the Headstart service, which comes with a minimum cost of $330 per class of goods/services (assuming a clear result). An examiner will review your trademark and provide feedback within approximately 5 business days. You can make amendments before the final submission, but this may result in additional costs.
The $330 fee comprises an initial $200 fee per class of goods/services plus an additional $130 per class to convert the application into a formally filed application after it has been reviewed.
Alternatively, you can submit a trademark application through IP Australia’s standard procedure. This application will undergo examination within approximately 3-4 months, and you may have limited flexibility to make certain modifications compared to the Headstart option, especially if an adverse report is issued.
The cost for this standard application is a minimum of $250 per class of goods/services.
It’s important to note that the application cost is contingent on the number of classes of goods and services you register. IP Australia has categorised goods and services into 45 classes, encompassing more than 60,000 descriptions, which they have condensed into a user-friendly ‘picklist’ to streamline the process.
Using this picklist is more cost-effective than describing your products and services in your own words. A trademark application with the picklist incurs a fee of $250 per class, whereas it increases to $400 per class without the picklist.
As you apply for more classes, the filing cost for the entire application rises accordingly.
Expenses Associated with Applying for a Series Trademark
A series trademark application offers the possibility to register multiple trademarks within a single application, as long as the primary distinguishing characteristics of these various trademarks are identical, and any variations fall within the parameters allowed for series marks.
For instance, a brand that offers a range of products such as clothing, footwear, and headgear could opt for a series mark (e.g., ZILKA clothing, ZILKA shoes, and ZILKA caps). The crucial factor is that the core identity of each mark must remain consistent. In the provided example, the distinctions solely pertain to the representation associated with the respective goods. Other acceptable variations may involve factors like price, quality, colour, or location.
The cost for a series trademark application is $400 when utilising the picklist and $550 when not using the picklist.
In exceptional circumstances, there might be opportunities to add new classes of goods and services to an existing application, incurring additional expenses. These costs can vary depending on the type of application submitted and whether the picklist was employed.
Fees for Extensions
The comprehensive registration process typically spans a minimum of 7 and a half months. In cases where an adverse report is issued after examination, applicants are granted a 15-month window to respond to the report. Certain situations, such as errors in the application, the necessity to submit evidence, or exceptional circumstances, may necessitate additional time, prompting the need for an extension.
Official extension fees, applicable to trade mark applications currently under examination, amount to $100 per month or any part thereof.
Cost for International Applications
Given the expanding landscape of global trade and the growing number of businesses operating across national borders, international trademarks have gained prominence.
The expenses associated with applying for a trademark outside of Australia hinge on several factors:
- Government and professional fees
- The number of classes of goods and/or services involved
- The scope of countries in which you wish to seek protection
- Whether you opt for the Madrid Protocol or choose to apply through the individual trade mark offices of each country.
Expenses Associated with Trade Mark Renewal
It’s important to note that trademarks do not have an indefinite lifespan. In Australia, trade mark registration remains valid for a period of 10 years, with an option for indefinite renewal, every 10 years thereafter. If you choose to renew your trade mark online, the cost is $400 per class.
However, if your trade mark registration has already expired, the cost increases to $100 for each month or part thereof beyond the expiry date, in addition to the standard renewal fee.
Cost of Enlisting a Trade Marks Attorney or IP Lawyer
While it is entirely possible to apply for trade mark registration independently, there is no obligation to engage the services of a trademark professional. Nevertheless, there can be considerable advantages to outsourcing this responsibility, as specialised support ensures that the process is managed smoothly, comprehensively, and seamlessly.
The cost of hiring a trademark professional varies from one firm to another. Their fees are contingent on factors such as their level of expertise, the scope of services they provide, the complexity of the case, and more. However, it is feasible to identify a cost-effective trademark attorney who can effectively establish comprehensive legal protections for your valuable intellectual property.
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