Annex A1 Section 41 prior to Raising the Bar

Date Published

Prior to the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 which came into force on 15 April 2013, section 41 of the Trade Marks Act 1995 read as follows:


  1. For the purposes of this section, the use of a trade mark by a predecessor in title of an applicant for the registration of the trade mark is taken to be a use of the trade mark by the applicant.

Note 1:  For applicant and predecessor in title see section 6.

Note 2: If a predecessor in title had authorised another person to use the trade mark, any authorised use of the trade mark by the other person is taken to be a use of the trade mark by the predecessor in title (see subsection 7(3) and section 8).


2. An application for the registration of a trade mark must be rejected if the trade mark is not capable of distinguishing the applicant's goods or services in respect of which the trade mark is sought to be registered (designated goods or services) from the goods or services of other persons.

Note:  For goods of a person and services of a person see section 6.

3. In deciding the question whether or not a trade mark is capable of distinguishing the designated goods or services from the goods or services of other persons, the Registrar must first take into account the extent to which the trade mark is inherently adapted to distinguish the designated goods or services from the goods or services of other persons.


4. Then, if the Registrar is still unable to decide the question, the following provisions apply.


5. If the Registrar finds that the trade mark is to some extent inherently adapted to distinguish the designated goods or services from the goods or services of other persons but is unable to decide, on that basis alone, that the trade mark is capable of so distinguishing the designated goods or services:

a. the Registrar is to consider whether, because of the combined effect of the following:

i. the extent to which the trade mark is inherently adapted to distinguish the designated goods or services;

ii. the use, or intended use, of the trade mark by the applicant;

iii. any other circumstances;

the trade mark does or will distinguish the designated goods or services as being those of the applicant; and

a. if the Registrar is then satisfied that the trade mark does or will so distinguish the designated goods or services-the trade mark is taken to be capable of distinguishing the applicant's goods or services from the goods or services of other persons; and

b. if the Registrar is not satisfied that the trade mark does or will so distinguish the designated goods or services-the trade mark is taken not to be capable of distinguishing the applicant's goods or services from the goods or services of other persons.

Note 1: For goods of a person and services of a person see section 6.

Note 2: Use of a trade mark by a predecessor in title of an applicant and an authorised use of a trade mark by another person are each taken to be use of the trade mark by the applicant (see subsections (1) and 7(3) and section 8).


6. If the Registrar finds that the trade mark is not to any extent inherently adapted to distinguish the designated goods or services from the goods or services of other persons, the following provisions apply:

a. if the applicant establishes that, because of the extent to which the applicant has used the trade mark before the filing date in respect of the application, it does distinguish the designated goods or services as being those of the applicant-the trade mark is taken to be capable of distinguishing the designated goods or services from the goods or services of other persons;

b. in any other case-the trade mark is taken not to be capable of distinguishing the designated goods or services from the goods or services of other persons.


Note 1: Trade marks that are not to any extent inherently adapted to distinguish goods or services are mostly trade marks that consist wholly of a sign that is ordinarily used to indicate:

a. the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, or some other characteristic, of goods or services; or

b. the time of production of goods or of the rendering of services.


Note 2: Use of a trade mark by a predecessor in title of an applicant and an authorised use of a trade mark by another person are each taken to be use of the trade mark by the applicant (see subsections (1) and 7(3) and section 8).