FAQs

Who are we?

Why use our services?

What is real time filing?

How does it work?

How do I get started?

How do I select my goods and / or services?

Are there any more fees?

Does TMJAM provide legal services?

Where can I use the TMJAM services?

Why should I register my trade mark?

Is trade mark registration compulsory?

How do I choose a trade mark?

How do I use my trade mark?

What is trade mark searching?

What happens if I get an objection?

What happens if my trade mark application is accepted?

Can my trade mark registration be reversed?

When do renewals occur?

Who are we?

TMJAM was created by former New Zealand intellectual property lawyers. We saw a gap in trade mark practice for a simple, technology driven, and cost-effective trade mark application service. We also don’t like paper files, burdensome administration or hidden fees. Instead, we like cutting edge technology that’s disrupting the legal industry - join our revolution.

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!

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. Did we mention that TMJAM is disrupting the trade mark industry with our tech?!

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 via our API. This is a connection we have direct to their servers, which allows for the application to be filed in real time.

In the case of Australia, all of the information provided during the TMJAM wizard three step process is collected and following a successful payment a TMJAM representative will file the application direct with IP Australia. We will do this ASAP but there may be a small lag in the filing.

How do I get started?

The process is done in three easy steps. Prior to using the wizard it is advisable you register and 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 (ie 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.

How do I select my goods and / or services?

Aside from Canada, most countries use the 'Nice Classification' which splits goods and services into 45 classes. To figure out which goods and/or services are relevant for your trade mark, use can use our trade mark application wizard to select them. The class system however 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.

Note that each class 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, ie:

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. Whereas 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.

Are there any more fees?

No, not for the filing stage. 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 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.

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!

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 (Asia, Europe and via the Madrid Protocol), we can help too. Contact us here.

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!

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 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.

Contact us 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!

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!

TMJAM

Generic Descriptive Suggestive Arbitrary or Fanciful
The common name for the the goods or serviced for which the product is used.

Not capable of inherently serving the function of distinguishing goods or services of a business from the goods or services of another businesses (ie the trade mark H2O for the goods “spring water”).

Will never be afforded legal protection by registration since it can never function as a trade mark.

Generic trade marks also contemplates trade marks that although once distinctive through inaction or otherwise have lost their capacity to act as a trade mark.

Examples include:

  • SELLOTAPE
  • CATS EYE
  • TRAMPOLINE
  • CANADIAN for syrups
A descriptive trade mark is one that by its plain meaning refers to the nature of or an aspect of the goods or services for which registration is sought.

Descriptive trade marks are prima facie ineligible for registration but can be registered if it can be shown a distinctive character has been acquired through use (“acquired discintctiveness”).

Examples of descriptive trade marks could include:

  • AIR NEW ZEALAND for air transportation services
  • TREAT for confectionary
  • BANK OF AMERICA for banking services
  • BEST BUY for the retail of consumer electronics
A trade mark is considered to be allusive if it makes reference to certain characteristics of the goods or services in an indirect way or through a mental association process which requires a special effort on the part of consumers who are expected to transform a suggestive or emotional message into a rational evaluation.

Examples of suggestive trade marks might include:

  • CRAYOLA for crayons
  • NETFLIX for online streaming services
  • THE NORTH FACE for clothing and outdoorware
  • CRUNCHIE for confectionary

An arbitrary of fanciful trade mark is one that is made-up or has no meaning or relation to the goods or services for which registration is sought. Arbitrary or fanciful trade marks are inherently registrable.

The term “fanciful” is applied to words invented solely for their use as a trade mark (eg a neologism ) whereas an “arbitrary” trade mark is a common word applied in an unfamiliar way.

Examples would include the following:

  • APPLE for computers
  • GALAXY for an Internet enabled device
  • FONTERRA for dairy products
  • XERO for accounting software


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).

Contact us if you want us to check that you’re using your trade marks correctly. We’ll give you our advice for free.

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. Contact us for a tailored quote and recommendations.

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.

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.

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.

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.

We will remind you when it’s time to renew your trade mark, using the contact details you’ve provided. That’s why it’s important to contact us if your details or trade mark ownership changes.