Registering your trade mark is a great way to protect and distinguish your brand’s valuable intellectual property.

At Sprintlaw, we use the TM Headstart process with our clients before they register a trade mark. TM Headstart is a service offered by IP Australia. It allows you to receive a preliminary assessment report before publicly filing your trade mark application, so that any potential issues with your trade mark can be identified and addressed.

Receiving a Trade Mark Adverse Report from IP Australia can be concerning, as it means that IP Australia has identified problems with your trade mark. It means you may need to consider altering your trade mark or, in the worst case, or completely rebranding.

Our Trade Mark Adverse Report Consult gives you the opportunity to discuss your Adverse Report with our IP specialist lawyer to obtain advice on your options moving forward.

Understanding The Trade Mark Headstart Process

There are two parts to the TM Headstart Process: Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1

The first step in the TM Headstart process is to submit a request with the details of your proposed trade mark to IP Australia.

Within five working days of submitting the request, you’ll receive an assessment report from a trade mark examiner. This report contains the examiner’s preliminary assessment on whether or not there are any issues with your proposed trade mark. If there are problems, we refer to this report as an Adverse Report.

Upon receiving an Adverse Report, you’ll have five working days to confirm whether you’d like to lodge an amendment to your trade mark or proceed with Part 2.

Part 2

Part 2 involves filing the public trade mark application. It usually takes around three or four months for IP Australia to consider your application and provide you with a result. If your trade mark is “accepted”, it will enter into an opposition period for two months, during which other businesses can oppose your trade mark.

If there are no oppositions during the opposition period, your trade mark will be successfully registered. The right to your trade mark registration starts from the Part 2 filing date.

What Is In An Adverse Report?

An Adverse Report will set out the reasons why your trade mark is likely not to be accepted by IP Australia during the formal application, and what you can do to fix it.

Your options are usually:

  • Amend your request. This is typically done through a new trade mark representation, which allows you to fix the problem with your original request. An experienced trade mark lawyer can suggest ways that you can increase the likelihood of your application being successful.
  • Go ahead to Part 2. An Adverse Report is an initial indication of any problems your trade mark may encounter during the formal application process, and is not a definitive result. You may still decide to go ahead with the formal application despite the problems identified in Part 1 of the Headstart Process.
  • Drop your application all together. You may decide that, in light of the Adverse Report, you’d rather consider rebranding (particularly if it turns out your proposed trade mark isn’t as original as you thought!).

Need Help Deciding Your Next Steps?

If you’ve received an Adverse Report, discussing your options and obtaining legal advice on what you should do to increase the likelihood of your trade mark succeeding may be the difference between securing your prized brand name or logo and losing it.

At Sprintlaw, we have an experienced trade mark team who can talk you through what your next steps should be. Feel free to get in touch to book in a consult!

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