Certification Trade Marks in Australia

A trade mark is a sign used, or intended to be used, to distinguish the goods or services of one business from goods or services of another. It can be anything from a word, image, shape, colour, or even a sound or scent! Trade marks are a fundamental way for businesses to market themselves and build a unique brand and reputation.

A certification trade mark on the other hand, is usually a logo, word or phrase that indicates to consumers that a product or service meets a particular standard or has certain qualities or characteristics.

Two well known certification trade marks in Australia are the ‘Woolmark’ trade mark and the ‘Australian Made’ trade mark.




The standards of a certification trade mark are about indicating to consumers that a product has met certain qualities for their criteria such as:

  • quality
  • composition
  • place of origin
  • manufacturing method
  • suitability for a particular task

Certification trade marks have rules setting out the requirements for their use in order for businesses to be able to display the mark.

Using a widely recognised certification trade mark on your products or services as a business owner can help the credibility of your business and establish familiarity and a good reputation with consumers.


The ACCC and IP Australia

Here in Australia the ACCC and IP Australia work together in registering and approving certification trade marks.

Before a new certification trade mark can be registered by IP Australia under the Trade Marks Act 1995, it must receive approval of the rules by ACCC.

Although the ACCC has a role in the registration of new certification trade marks, the application must be made to IP Australia first. Here it will be assessed against general trade mark requirements and if it meets these general requirements, IP Australia will send it to the ACCC to assess against the certification trade mark rules and checklist.

Head to the ACCC website here for more information.

The Australian Made Logo

If you’re an Australian based business wanting to use the Australian Made logo on your products, here are some handy tips:

  • As it is a trade marked logo, you can’t use it without applying for the rights to do so first.
  • To apply to use it, you need to file an application with the not-for-profit Australian Made Campaign Ltd (AMCL). You have to also meet the criteria set out in the Australian Consumer law and AMAG logo code of practice.
  • This iconic logo was first commissioned by the Federal Government in 1986 & designed by creative consultant Ken Cato.
  • It’s now found on over 10,000 products within Australia and the world.

The Australian Made logo is a great example of how you can license the use of a registered trade mark you own. It’s just one of many great reasons why protecting your IP and registering trade marks helps to not only protect your business in the long run but increase its commercial value too.

To read more about the Australian Made logo (and its variations) head to their website here.

Did you know we have a Licence Agreement Template in our Contract Store? Making your intellectual property work for you is a smart business decision. If you are a creative who wants to monetise your intellectual property by licensing it to another party, check out our contract template here.

At Litton Legal we’re experts in Intellectual Property Law and can assist you every step of the way. To find out more about our IP services send our friendly team an email by heading to our contact page here.