Swinburne leads creation of world-first trademark database platform

Thursday 23 November 2017

Someone using a laptop and viewing IP Australia website.

TMlink will provide insights into the foreign trade interests of Australian businesses.

In summary

  • Swinburne led the development of an internationally linked trademark database
  • Database links trademark application numbers across countries, shows use of trademarks in different markets and opens new research opportunities

Swinburne has led the development of an internationally linked trademark database called ‘TMlink’.

Created in conjunction with IP Australia and University of Melbourne, TMIink will be a world-first platform providing insights into the foreign trade interests of Australian businesses. 

The platform links trademark application numbers across countries, shows how trademarks are used in different markets and opens up new opportunities for global research in brand behaviour, trends and patterns.

Overcoming international barriers

Currently trademark databases are country specific.

“It has historically been very difficult for economics researchers and policymakers to investigate trends in international branding,” says Swinburne data scientist, Dr Stephen Petrie.

“The main barrier to investigating international branding is that trademark application data - which provides empirical data on brands - has never been linked together across many different countries for research purposes.

“We expect that in the coming years, the TMlink database will provide a valuable evidence base for both researchers and policymakers around the world.”

A neural network-based linking algorithm has also been created as part of the project that Dr Petrie says will enable researchers to probe international networks of company brands.

Foreign trade interests

Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Craig Laundy MP says that the aim of the project is to provide insights into the foreign trade interests of Australian businesses. 

“By knowing what is already registered in each jurisdiction, companies will be able to make evidence-based decisions on if they should enter and if they should register IP in that market. This central database will continue to grow and we hope to include every country that the World Intellectual Property Organization works with,” he says.

Currently, TMlink includes trademark data from Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand and the United States.

In future, the database will expand to incorporate trademark data from other major economies around the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Japan and South Korea.