What is a trade mark?

A trade mark refers to a mark used or proposed to be used in relation to goods for the purpose of indicating, or so as to indicate, a connection in the course of trade between the goods and the person who has the right, either as the proprietor/owner or registered user, to use the mark whether with or without an indication of identity of that person. (Trade Marks Act – Ch.385).

The word “mark” in this context includes a device, brand, heading, label, name, signature, word letter or numeral or any combination of them.

In a simple context, a trade mark can be defined as a sign capable of distinguishing the goods (or services) produced or provided by one person (enterprise) from those of other persons (enterprises).

A trade mark's main function is to enable consumers to identify a product (whether good or service) of a particular enterprise so as to distinguish it from other identical or similar products that belong to other competitors.

How can trade mark protection be obtained?

Trade mark protection can be obtained through registration or in some jurisdiction, through use. Even where trade marks are protected through use, it is always advisable to register the trade mark at the national trade mark office. In Papua New Guinea , trade mark protection can be obtained through registration with the Intellectual Property office of Papua New Guinea . (See link of Laws).

Why is it important to obtain Trademark registration?

Registering a trade mark will provide stronger protection, particularly in the case of a conflict with an identical or confusingly similar trade mark. The legal or statutory title protects the registered proprietor/owner or registered user against unauthorized use of the trade mark.

Registration will also provide the proprietor, or registered user, with the legal title to exclusive use, of the trade mark for the goods and services for which it is registered. The legal or statutory title protects the registered proprietor or registered user against unauthorized use of the trade mark.

How to obtain registration (How can I apply for registration?)

  1. Firstly, obtain an application form; a Form 4 (Application for Registration of a trademark).
  2. Application forms can be either downloaded or collected at the office.
  3. Complete the application form with all the necessary details. Please ensure that all necessary requirements are complied with and completed before the application form is submitted as lodged. An instruction guide is attached to assist in correctly completing the form.
  4. Include the prescribed fee with the application form.
  5. Lodge the form at the office. The forms can only be lodged using paper lodgments at the IPA Head office (location) or mailed to the office (mailing address).

Who can apply for registration?

Any one person or persons who claim to be the legitimate owner or proprietor of a trade mark can apply for registration of the mark. Thus, an ordinary person (a natural person) or company (a legal person) is eligible to apply

How long does it take for me to have my trade mark registered?

Registering a trade mark is a lengthy process. It takes an entire 6 to 15 months for a trade mark to be eligible for registration; because; the mark goes through a compulsory examination, opposition and registration period.

In detail, the process includes filing phase, an examination phase which has a turn around time of two (2) weeks to 9 months, a publication and an opposition period of 3 months and registration period of 3 months.

In general, if all requirements both formality and statutory requirements are met, registration may be obtained in 9 months.

What happens after my trade mark has been approved for registration?

Upon approval for registration, the applicant is granted exclusive right and ownership of the trade mark with a trade mark certificate (legal document). This signifies and recognizes that the applicant is the legitimate owner/registered proprietor of the trade mark.

Registration of the mark is valid for a 10 year period starting from the filing date (registration date) of the application. The owner can renew the mark after every 10 years. (See renewal process).

The owner's (of the trade mark) basic attribute with regard to protection of the trade mark is the power to exercise control over the use of the mark. Included in that exclusive right, the owner can license the mark to others to use the trade mark or assign the trade mark rights to others. (See requirements on assignments and/or licenses/registered users).

What is the registration fee?

Please refer the schedule of fees

How important is the classification of Goods and Services?

When filing an application, the applicant is required to specify the goods or services that the proposed trade mark will cover under the registration and protection. In other words, the applicant is required to indicate the goods or services for which they wish to register their trade mark.

Trade marks are registered for goods or services in certain classes and these classes determine the scope of protection of the trade mark.

The classification of goods or services is based on the International Classification of Goods or Services [for the Purpose of Registration of Marks], NICE Classification, 9 th Edition.


•  Classes 1 to 34 consist of Goods ; Classes 35 to 45 consist of Services

•  Please consult the NICE Classification to obtain the appropriate class of goods/services for your mark.

Please refer to the NICE Classification to decide which category or Class best fits your description of goods or services

What is a Trademark search?

The trade mark search is a search of the trademark registry to ensure that the proposed trade mark is not already registered by another company for identical or similar products.

How can I do a Trade Mark Search?

All searches are conducted by the office only. Requests can be made in writing via correspondence and mailed to the IPOPNG Office or sent via email.

What is the fee for a Trade Mark Search?

Please refer the schedule of fees