Frequently Asked Questions
- Who are we?
- TMJAM was created by former intellectual property lawyers. We saw a gap in trade mark practice for simple, technology driven, and cost-effective trade mark services. We also don’t like paper files, burdensome administration or hidden fees.
- What is real time filing?
- Our website is linked to IPONZ, which means that once you fill out our simple form, your trade mark is instantly filed. No middle man, no delays, just great technology.
- How do I get started?
- The process is done in three easy steps. Prior to using the wizard it is advisable you register an account first, although you can also register an account during the process.
The first step is to type in your trade mark if it is a word or forms a part of an application where a word is combined with another logo (i.e. a combined application).
If your application includes a logo, then you will have to upload this. Note that IPONZ will only accept GIF or JPG formats whereas IP Australia will only accept JPEG, PNG or TIF files.
- Are there any more fees?
- No, not for the filing stage. If you pay with your credit or debit card we will not keep this on file and no further charges will be payable without your consent.
We will not charge you an acceptance fee, a registration fee, a fee to forward you an objection, a fee for scratching our heads, nor any other miscellaneous or imaginative fees.
We don’t do disbursements, charging by the hour, or invoicing you for phone calls. Why? We’re not lawyers. We’re TMJAM!
We’ll also help you overcome objections to your application for free if they are related to the goods and services you filed your trade mark under (as lawyers say, a ‘specification objection’). If you want to pay, we suggest you find a lawyer, they’ll charge around $350!
If you need to add goods and services to your application, and they aren’t within the parameters of your original application, the IP Office will charge you official fees (this is called adding classes to your application).
If your trade mark application faces a more serious objection (for example there are conflicting marks on the register, or your trade mark is 'descriptive' or 'lacks distinctiveness'), there may be a cost to file a response. We’ll let you know your options before we proceed.
When your trade mark registration needs renewing (think 10 years away), we charge a simple renewal fee. We push the same buttons as the lawyers do, and charge you less.
- Where can I use the TMJAM services?
- We’re global but local. Use our online form to file trade mark applications in New Zealand and Australia. If you’re interested in transferring ownership of your trade marks, or filing overseas, we can help too. Contact us here.
- Is trade mark registration compulsory?
- It’s not compulsory. But it provides you with the right to sue for trade mark infringement. You don’t get this right just by registering a company name.
A trade mark registration is also a defence against other people’s allegations of trade mark infringement.
- How do I use my trade mark?
- This is important. Remember SELLOTAPE and TRAMPOLINE? These trade marks are no longer, they fell victim to ‘genericide’. Basically, these names were used in a way that lead them to becoming generic, and not necessarily being attributed to one particular business. These names no longer function as trade marks, but as adjectives for sticky tape and fabric stretched between a frame using coiled strings.
So, it’s important to use your trade mark as follows:
Perform a Google search on cats (not Google cats).
Drink a Carlsberg beer (not drink Carlsberg).
Call on your Samsung phone (not call on your Samsung).
if you want us to check that you’re using your trade marks correctly. We’ll give you our advice for free. Contact us
- What happens if I get an objection or opposition?
- If your application is not objected to by the IP Office, or if we overcome any objections raised, it will be accepted.
Following acceptance, your application will be registered after approximately 6 months following the filing date, as long as no third parties oppose the acceptance of your application. Third parties have a limited amount of time from publication of acceptance by the IP Office (not the acceptance date) to oppose your application.
The opposition period in New Zealand is three months, and in Australia, two.
Don’t be too alarmed, the chances of a third party filing an opposition are low. In 2016, 22,034 applications were filed in New Zealand, and only 196, or less than 1%, were opposed.
- Can my trade mark registation be reversed?
- Yes, by invalidation, removal or revocation by a third party
Make sure that you use your trade mark registration in relation to ALL of the goods and services it covers, so that you build up strong use rights, and prevent your registration from being attacked because it’s not in use.
- Why use our services?
- We use cutting-edge technology to file your trade mark applications in real time in New Zealand (and near real time in Australia), and our prices are fixed and affordable. No jargon, charging by the hour, unnecessary admin, or lawyers!
- How does it work?
- The TMJAM trade mark wizard takes you through the process of filing an application to the intellectual property offices in New Zealand and Australia. For New Zealand your application is prepared and stored on our servers during the three step process. Once payment is accepted it files the application direct to IPONZ. The application is filed direct to IPONZ's servers meaning it is completed in real time.
For Australia, all of the information provided during the TMJAM wizard three step process is collected. Following a successful payment a TMJAM representative will file the application direct with IP Australia
- How do I select my goods and / or services?
- To figure out which goods and/or services are relevant for your trade mark, you can use our trade mark application wizard to select them. Note that the system that classifies the goods and services is not always logical. For example, surfing wetsuits can be found in class 25, but diving wetsuits are in class 9. Processed kiwifruit is in class 29, and fresh kiwifruit in class 31.
Each class covered by your trade mark application adds an additional fee made up primarily of official fees from the registry. The TMJAM trade mark wizard will outline the addition of these fees in the panel above the selected goods / services, i.e.
If you’re not sure that you’re doing it right, and you want us to provide you with the goods and services you should file under, contact us. Note also that sometimes your goods or services may not be indexed.
Although our wizard has around 120,000 items indexed, there are still many gaps in items that exist out there in the real world.
If your goods and services do not exist in our database we are happy to file an application direct to the IP office for you at no additional cost.
- Does TMJAM provide legal services?
- TMJAM does not provide legal services. If your trade mark matters are contentious or you need legal advice, we’re more than happy to recommend a firm or lawyer to you. Why? We’re not interested in getting in fights. We prefer to help our clients achieve great things like filing their trade mark applications!
- Why should I register my trade mark?
- Why? Why not?! Importantly, securing a trade mark registration adds value to your business. You’ll have better peace of mind knowing you’ve established a monopoly over words, logos and branding. Whether you’re a start-up, a small company or a big multinational, a trade mark registration evens the playing field. Not convinced? Check out the story of why Rogue Society gin rebranded to Scapegrace gin.
Also, a trade mark registration is a legitimate form of personal property. You can licence, assign and mortgage your registration. If you want to sell your business, potential buyers won’t be impressed if they can’t buy the legal rights to your brand. Your brand could be your most valuable asset.
Registration also means you can use the ® sign. You can warn competitors that you’ve got a trade mark, so they better not ‘steal’ it or there will be consequences.
Ultimately, a trade mark registration is key to your business risk mitigation strategy. Don’t have a strategy? Better apply to register your trade mark quick!
- How do I choose a trade mark?
- From a legal perspective, you need to select a trade mark that is ‘distinctive’. What this means, is that your trade mark should be able to distinguish the goods or services your business provides from your competitors.
To come up with a distinctive trade mark, make sure that it’s not descriptive of your business activities. ‘Chocolate Cakes’ for your cake company is terrible name. ‘Sugar Hit’ is slightly better, because it’s suggestive only. ‘Best Chocolate’ is a no, because that’s laudatory. But if you want to choose a really good brand, come up with a fanciful or made up name [insert yours here]. Think Apple for Computers, or Nike for athletic wear. Now we’re talking.
if you have come up with a new brand, but you’re not sure how strong it is from a legal perspective. We’ll give you our opinion on this for free! Contact us
A helpful assessment for trade mark distinctiveness is the split between classes of (1) generic, (2) descriptive, (3) suggestive, and (4) arbitrary or fanciful. The table below sets out the scales you might be looking for to make sure your trade mark is a good jam!
- What is trade mark searching?
- Before you apply to register a trade mark, we always recommend trade mark searches first. This is because your trade mark application will be objected to if it conflicts with an existing trade mark on the register which has ‘priority’, and covers the same or similar goods and services.
Searching may save you time and money in the meantime, as it helps prevent re-branding or worse.
TMJAM offers identical searching as well as similar searching, and our prices start from $50.
We can search in New Zealand, Australia, The United States, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.
for a tailored quote and recommendations. Contact us
- What happens if my trade mark application is registered?
- Your application will mature to registration if it passes the opposition period, and a Registration Certificate will be issued. In New Zealand only digital registration certificates are issued.
Following registration, you will be able to use the ® symbol alongside your trade mark and are eligible to sue parties for infringement.
- When do renewals occur?
- Your trade mark registration can be renewed 10 years after the application date, and renewed indefinitely for further periods of 10 years at a time.
You can renew your trade mark using our renewals tool.
You can pay with your credit card and complete the renewal process online.