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Wise words, Dave and a very good point. Definitely something to consider.

Following on from [USER=65283]@My Guy[/USER]’s points:

If your registered business name is the same name you’re trying to trade mark, then yes, you already have some protection. But a trade mark trumps a business name, so if someone happened to register the same name as a trade mark, they may be able to stop you using that business name, even though it’s your registered business name.

Getting a trade mark registered does take a while, but you can find out some information pretty quickly. Using IP Australia’s TM Headstart service, you can get a pretty representative provisional answer within 5 business days. After that, it takes about 2 weeks until your trade mark is accepted, assuming all is well. If you go through the standard filing route instead, then this same process can take around 3 months (varying depending on the government’s backlog).

Acceptance is just the first stage. It means the government considered everything be okay at that point. Things are usually pretty smooth sailing after this, but you still have to get through some other things before you reach registration, which then secures your rights fully.

No matter which of those filing methods you use, it takes a minimum of 7.5 months to get your trade mark registered (longer if you run into problems). Included in that time period is a 2 month opposition period, in which anyone who has a problem with your trade mark (and happens to see it online when it’s published) can pay a fee and oppose the registration of your trade mark. If that doesn’t happen, then you reach registration which gives you 10 years protection, and you can pay to renew for another 10 years at the end of that (and keep going forever).

Like My Guy said, having someone oppose or intentionally copy your trade mark can be fairly rare, but people may file the same or similar trade mark without meaning to copy yours. They may have just had the same or similar idea. It all really depends on your individual circumstances – i.e. the trade mark you’re planning to file, your goods/services, etc.