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Hi Dovelle,

Just to clarify again :)

IP Australia is the government office for trademarks (and patents and designs etc) in Australia. It seems that they have only painted half a picture when giving you this information.

In Australia, the “rightful owner” of a trademark is considered to be the first to register (i.e. first in best dressed) or the first to use, which ever is earlier.

Plus, IP Australia will not examine whether someone happens to have registered a similar domain name in determining whether someone can register a trademark; they will examine existing trademarks and whether they are similar, as well as ensuring the trademark complies with all relevant regulations etc for actually becoming a trademark. If someone has used the same (or similar) name in the marketplace, as a domain name and/or brand/promotional name etc since before another person seeks to register the trademark, it would be up to that other person to lodge an objection against the trademark becoming registered if they felt they were the rightful owner of the name… IP Australia won’t automatically do it for them.

When you file an application for trademark registration in Australia only – they do not search internationally. Trademark registration is a ‘country by country’ process in terms of seeing whether similar trademarks are already pending or registered in those countries where you seek to protect yours; there is an international trademark system to help simplify registration overseas but even through that system your trademark is examined by the individual country offices against their own national trademark databases.

Obviously, I have side tracked a bit from the original discussion but hope the posts are helpful to those reading :)

In my opinion, the best thing business owners can do is make sure they register their trademarks as soon as they can. The number one right a registered trademark gives that rightful owner is the right to actual use the trademark they have registered, for the relevant goods/services – takes out a lot of ifs/buts/maybes etc from situations arising where someone else registers first!