If you renew your business trademark through a private organisation, rather than IP Australia, you could end up paying three times more than required.

You also run the risk of giving away future control of the management and renewal of your trademarks.

When registering a trademark your contact details become publicly available. Unfortunately there are private organisations out there who may use this information to then approach you with unsolicited renewal notices.

On the surface these renewal notices may look official. They may also stress that you need to take immediate action, before your trademark is cancelled. What these companies are actually hoping is that you don’t read the fine print and pay them the amount demanded.

Check your trademark renewal notice before you pay

IP Australia manages the renewal and registration of trademarks. Unless you have given authority to a third party to manage your trademarks (eg. your lawyer) your renewal will come to you directly from IP Australia.

Here are four quick and easy tips to help you check that your renewal notice is from IP Australia and not a third party:

  • Visit the IP Australia Trade Mark Search and look up your trademark. From here, you’ll be able to see when it is due for renewal. In some cases, the third party notices state renewal dates that are years before the trademark is actually due to expire.
  • Check the website and email addresses on the renewal notice or email. If they don’t end in ‘.gov.au’, it’s not from an official government agency or connected with IP Australia.
  • Check IP Australia’s list of companies that send unsolicited trademark notices.
  • Check before you pay. If you’re unsure if a government renewal notice is the real deal, contact the agency direct (in this case, IP Australia) or contact us for advice.

What to do if you renewed with a third party by mistake

While you’re unlikely to have the extra fee refunded, we recommend contacting IP Australia to discuss your situation, and to check the trademark is still registered under your name, not that of the third party.

Starting and growing
Legal and risk
14 March 2018