What is IP Australia’s TM Headstart Service?

Nov 10, 2016
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Jennifer Wang

Registering a trademark can be a complicated and confusing process for many businesses. Whether you’re registering a product, service or brand, it’s easy to make a mistake on your first application.

The Australian Government’s Intellectual Property Agency administers intellectual property rights and legislation relating to patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. It allows businesses to trademark their goods, services or brand through an online application process and search for existing trademarks in the registered database. Registering a trademark has many benefits for a business including: enhanced brand protection from unauthorised use; strengthened brand identity; and improved brand marketing.

If you would like to register your trademark, LawPath’s experienced trademark attorneys can help you with our simple online application process.

What is IP Australia’s TM Headstart Service?

The TM Headstart service is an assessment service offered by the IP agency to give businesses a prior assessment of their trademark application before they publicly file to register a trademark. The service allows businesses to identify and correct any potential mistakes and issues on their application before filing, saving time and money for applicants. This is beneficial given that applications containing mistakes or errors are usually rejected and need to be re-filed resulting in a lengthy and expensive process.

The assessment requires an additional cost and amendments will attract an extra fee due to the additional assessments that need to be made by the IP examiner.

What is the Process?

After an assessment request is sent through the online service, a trademark examiner who will assess the request and contact the applicant within 5 working days. After receiving the assessment, the applicant may choose whether they wish to continue with their application request and make amendments. If they decide to continue with the request, a Part 2 fee must be made within 5 working days of the results to proceed with the trademark application. Upon proceeding, the request becomes a standard trademark application to be filed and published.


The main advantage to using the TM Headstart service is the flexibility it gives to applicants who are unsure of the trademark process. During the initial assessment, the application submitted remains confidential and will not be submitted until after the applicant decides to proceed. Furthermore it allows applicants to amend their applications prior to formal submission and publication to avoid potential mistakes and issues.

Exceptions to the TM Headstart

There are certain circumstances where an trademark application cannot use a TM Headstart for an initial assessment. These include:

  • Special kinds of signs;
  • Series trademarks;
  • Certification trademarks;
  • Collective trademarks;
  • Defensive trademarks; and
  • Divisional applications.


A registered trademark is an invaluable business asset that protects a business’s brand, goods or services from unauthorised use. The TM Head start service is a useful tool for applicants who are uncertain about their trademark application and can provide useful feedback to help save time and money.

Looking to apply for a trademark? LawPath has access to highly qualified trademark attorneys that can help you with your application. Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers or any other legal needs.

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