Credit: Nick Youngson ( CC BY-SA 3.0 (

Credit: Nick Youngson ( CC BY-SA 3.0 (

IP Australia launches new AI-enhanced tool to simplify trade mark filing process

On 1 May at the IP Summit in Sydney, IP Australia launched a new, technology-enhanced tool to guide small businesses and self-filers (i.e. those not represented by a trade mark attorney) through the trade mark application process.

Using cutting edge artificial intelligence technology, Trade Mark Assist makes the process of applying for a trade mark more efficient for businesses seeking to protect their brand. This tool will make it easier for everyone, from small businesses to larger corporations, to apply for a trade mark and secure their brand name.

Trade Mark Assist helps users check whether their proposed trade mark complies with relevant requirements and is a strong candidate for registration. It also helps them identify relevant goods or services classes in which they may wish to register their trade mark.  

Trade mark rights represent IP Australia’s largest filing category with over 76,000 applications in 2017, dominated by Australian filers.  Nearly two thirds of Australian applicants are self-filers and around half of them only ever file once. Hence, IP Australia is constantly looking for ways to make the system simpler and more effective for applicants.

The tool helps address the challenge of identifying the right goods and/or services classes for a trade mark that has long been an area of confusion for customers and one where they can make costly mistakes. Trade Mark Assist helps customers to make better decisions early in the application process and reduce common mistakes. It uses machine learning algorithms to guide customers in selecting the most appropriate goods and services classes for their trade mark. 

IP Australia’s Virtual Assistant Alex acts as the guide to Trade Mark Assist for applicants.

IP Australia developed Trade Mark Assist with technology partner, TrademarkVision, the Queensland start-up which has developed leading-edge artificial intelligence and image recognition technology that it now sells internationally.

Previously, IP Australia worked with TrademarkVision to develop the Australian Trade Mark Search which uses multiple algorithms to detect objects within an image and make instantaneous comparisons across Australia’s entire trade mark database of over 400,000 images, returning visually similar images within seconds. This makes searching for similar logos simpler and faster. Australian Trade Mark Search has made searching for Australian trade marks easier for small businesses and introduced powerful features for intellectual property professionals. 

Patricia Kelly, Director General at IP Australia commented on Trade Mark Assist, “I’m pleased to say that Trade Mark Assist reduces the complexity of filing a trade mark and will benefit our trade mark customers, especially our self-filers. Trade Mark Assist utilises machine learning algorithms to provide tailored information to customers which we hope will increase customer satisfaction and improve the quality of trade mark applications.” 

MOVUS’ (FitMachine is a predictive maintenance solution for industrial machines and has been described by many as the FitBit for machines) CEO/Founding Director Brad Parsons praised the new tool, “When I filed my trade mark, the hardest aspect was determining the classes. Trade Mark Assist can help you through this process. It’s great to see IP Australia investing in tools that make it easier for businesses to protect their brand.”

Robin McGowan, Managing Director at InStitchu (a menswear startup) shared the value of trade marks for his business, “The more successful your business becomes the more valuable your brand is, so you want to invest in it. One way is to protect it with a trade mark to have full control of its use. Think of a trade mark as a business asset that can be franchised, licensed or sold. For us, our brand is literally stitched into our product, so it’s important it’s protected.” 

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