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“Headstart” trade mark applications are assessed within 5-10 days. Instead of filing a standard trade mark application and then waiting 6 or 7 months to find out if there are any problems, it is possible to “test the water” by first filing an application through IP Australia’s fast-track headstart system.

Five to 10 days after filing the application (and sometimes even sooner) a Trade Mark Examiner issues a headstart report listing any objections that are likely to be raised during formal examination. The Trade Mark Applicant then has a further five days to decide their next step. The options are either to (1) formally file the application or (2) abandon the application.

Once a headstart application has been formally filed, the details of the application are made publicly available on the Australian Trade Marks Register and the application proceeds through formal examination (nb. the details of abandoned headstart applications are never made public). The objections mentioned in the headstart report are likely to be raised during formal examination, and it’s at that time that the Trade Mark Applicant has the opportunity to respond.

For more on Australian trade mark applications, you can find our information sheet here.