Australian Patent Office

The Australian Patent Office, commonly abbreviated to APO, is a division of IP Australia and is responsible for issuing patents for inventions and ideas, and trademarks that have the capacity to make economic return. It is the official intellectual property agency of the Australia Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. The APO was established in 1904.

The responsibilities of APO

Section 51 of the Constitution of Australia defines the scope of the APO, detailing its powers regarding; copyrights, patents and designs, and trademarks. Primarily, APO is responsible for examining patent and trademark applications, and creating a secure environment for innovation, building brand value. Where the office approves a trademark or patent application, it will then issue the relevant registration certificate to the patent or trademark owner.

However, the scope of APO extends beyond simply reviewing and assessing patent and trademark applications. The four main areas covered by APO include:

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Designs
  • Plant breeders rights

Australia Trademark Search

A search is conducted using the ATMOSS – Australian Trademarks Online Search System. The database lists all registered and pending trademarks, and is accessible to all parties at no cost. Through using ATMOSS, owners can easily ascertain the availability and uniqueness of their mark prior to filing for registration. If the search results show that there are registered marks of a confusingly similar nature, then it is unlikely that APO will approve the registration application.

It is vitally important that when seeking trademark registration in Australia, a trademark search is conducted prior to submitting the application to the APO. The owner of a mark is advised to enlist the assistance of an industry professional to perform the search on their behalf; this is because the results of a search can be very difficult to interpret.


APO has strict regulations governing the use of a trademark, and the consequences for non-use of a registered mark. Ultimately, if you do not use your mark in the course of trade and within a commercial capacity, then it may be removed on grounds of non-use.

The purpose of removing a mark for non-use is to avoid owners filing for multiple marks to dominate the marketplace, and prevent others from using specific marks, without the intention of using it themselves.

It is important that you are fully aware of your rights concerning your Australia trademark. As such, it is advisable to consult with a trademark attorney or professional consultancy firm to assist you in your registration application and to inform you of your rights and obligations as an Australian trademark owner.

Starting Business can provide full assistance with Patent and Trademark requirements. To find out how we can assist you with your trademark needs, please Contact Us.