You are responsible for defending your own trade mark – the government does not do it for you. This does mean that you must keep an eye out at all times on your competitors as well as do some searches from time to time on the online trade mark registry. Some businesses use search agents to regularly scan the registry for similar marks.
When you do find a similar mark to yours being registered by a competitor, you should act quickly. The Trade Marks Act 1995 (Commonwealth) gives a short period of time to lodge an opposition to your competitor’s proposed mark. This is a period of two months from the date the mark was advertised in the Australian Official Journal of Trade Marks. This is a very short period of time – no extensions!
Once submitting a notice of opposition, your competitor is given the opportunity to respond. If your competitor still wants to go ahead with the matter, then IP Australia gives all parties a period of time to put together their arguments and evidence. The matter then gets set down for a hearing before a registrar of trade marks.
If you are going through this process we can certainly assist you in relation to these matters. Time is however, quite short, when it comes to these things, and the sooner you act, the better. Give us a call or e-mail us using the contact us form on our website.