1. Availability of Documents

Date Published

Section 217A of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) states that prescribed documents relating to trade marks are to be made available for public inspection. The documents to be made available are prescribed under regulation 21.11A.  Regulation 21.11A(2) specifically excludes a range of documents from being made available for public inspection.

1.1 What documents are available for public access

1.1.1 Most documents in relation to a trade mark application will be made available for public access. This means that interested parties can obtain copies of trade mark documents provided that they pay a fee and that the documents sought do not contain confidential information.

1.1.2 Anyone can request all or specific documents that are on file. This might be because they are considering whether to oppose a trade mark or they are interested in information that will assist in the registration of their own trade mark. Under section 217A, no reason is required to be provided.

1.2 Documents available under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act)

1.2.1 Trade mark applications filed before 27 March 2007 can be requested under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

1.2.2 For trade marks filed after 27 March 2007, documents that are of a sensitive nature or contain sensitive personal or business information can be requested under the FOI Act. However, access can be refused to some documents, or exemptions applied to parts of documents and are assessed on a case by case basis in accordance with the FOI Act.

1.3 Documents available outside of the FOI Act

1.3.1 Certain information, including personal information, such as:

  • A requester’s own personal information held on file
  • Non-confidential research or statistical data requested by journalists, researchers or academics;
  • General information of the sort which could be publicly disseminated without impacts to third parties; and
  • Documents relating to an application for the registration of a trade mark prior to 27 March 2007 but would otherwise have been made available for public inspection under section 217A of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) can be made available under administrative access arrangements.