Is the Australian Coat of Arms a US trademark?

coat of arms

The Australian Coat of Arms can be found in the United States Patent and Trademark Office database. Conspiracy theorists offer this as a key piece of evidence to support their claim that the Australian government is not legitimate, and that it is in fact a privately owned U.S. corporation.

In this article I’ll demonstrate that they are completely wrong about the Coat of arms.

The reason that the Australian Coat of Arms can be found in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database is that USPTO employees regularly copy new information from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) into the USPTO database so that people don’t have to search both databases.

What is the WIPO database?

The WIPO’s mission is to “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”.

It was created in 1967 and became part of the UN in 1974 – it’s helping everyone implement the 1883 treaty called Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (aka Paris Convention) in which countries agreed that respecting each other’s copyright and trademark laws was a very good thing.

One part of the Paris Convention, Article 6ter, relates to protection of flags, coats of arms and other emblems used by governments and countries.

WIPO maintains a database of all the things registered under article 6ter. Private companies can’t register anything in the 6ter database, only governments can.

Australian Coat of Arms in the 6ter database

Here is how you can see for yourself what Australia has registered in the 6ter database:

  1. Go to the 6ter search page
  2. In the “State” field select “Australia” from the dropdown list.
  3. Click [Search]

This will return you these 8 items:

If you click on the links you will see that the first one is for the word “ANZAC” and the rest are variations of the Australian Coat of Arms and look like this:

Note the text below the emblem, in particular the “Circular Date: 25.07.1991”. This is the date that the emblem was registered with the database. This is an important date because these same emblems were registered with the USPTO database just 6 months later on 8/1/1992.

Why register the Coat of Arms with USPTO?

The Australian Government did NOT register their Coat of Arms with the USPTO! The USPTO simply copies everything in the 6ter database into their USPTO database – it took them 6 months to get around to doing it.

To see the Australian listings in the USPTO database do the following:

  1. Go to the USPTO site
  2. Half way down the page click on the Tess Search Tardemarks
  3. Towards the bottom of the page click the “Browse dictionary” link
  4. Click the [structured] button
  5. Type one of the following serial numbers (89000474, 89000475, 89000531, 89000532, 89000533, 89000534, 89000535 ) into the “search term” field
  6. select “serial number” from the “field” field
  7. click [submit Query]

Doing that for 89000474 returns this:

Note the “Filing Date: January 8 1992” which is 6 months after it was registered in the 6ter database.

Note the “Owner: (APPLICANT) Commonwealth of Australia STATE AGENCY AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA”. It is a “State Agency” not a “Private Company”!

Note the “Other Data: Article 6ter Paris Convention – AUSTRALIA” which acknowledges that that’s where they got the information from.

I emailed the USPTO to ask them whether they copied entries from the 6ter database and they replied that they did, and referred me to this page on their website for a fuller explanation.

Here is the relevant paragraph:

“When the USPTO receives notifications from the IB under Article 6ter, the USPTO searches its records for conflicting marks, although the requests are not subjected to a full examination by an examining attorney or published for opposition. If the USPTO determines that a designation should be entered into the USPTO search records to assist USPTO examining attorneys, the designation is assigned a serial number in the “89” series code (i.e., serial numbers beginning with the digits “89,” sometimes referred to as “non-registrations”). Information about the designation should be discovered in an examining attorney’s search.”

Note also that these governmental trademarks are given a USPTO ID starting with “89” and are referred to as “non-registrations” because they didn’t actually register with the USPTO!

Here are few examples of items belonging to other countries starting with 89:

89001322 germany
89000309 emblem of Budapest
89000309 government of denmark
89000310 government of denmark
89000322 checkoslovakia
89001122 flag of Sweden


Surely I have presented way more than enough evidence to prove conclusively that the inclusion of the Australian Coat of Arms in the USPTO database DOES NOT mean that the Australian Government is a private corporation.

Sadly, I am certain that many conspiracy theorists will read this article and immediately erase it from their memory so that they can continue making the same ridiculous claims as before.

Read the other articles in this series

Category(s): Australian Government, Debunking     [ Bookmark the permalink ]     
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Comments (13)
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  1. Bobby:

    Why did the coat of arms change at all?

    • Lau Guerreiro:

      Because they wanted it to be more Australian.

      These guys go on as if there is only one coat of arms and it must always remain the same

      The coat of arms has always changed slightly with every monarch anyway.

      I’ll post an article explaining this some time in the future.

  2. Jimfox:

    The “Australian” emblem was applied for not long after Federation. It was granted by the King for use as an Emblem for Official functions & letter heads only. It was never to be used as a replacement for the Commonwealth coat of arms. The “Australian” government has usurped the Commonwealth government, it is a separate, illegal government, with countless fees & taxes to feed it’s coffers, & keep us broke …

    • Lau Guerreiro:

      //with countless fees & taxes to feed it’s coffers, & keep us broke//
      The financial accounts for the government are publicly available – you can see where the taxes are spent – they are spent on us.
      over 75% of your taxes are spent on pensions, unemployment benefits and other welfare payments, health, education, defence and the public service.
      Much less than 1% is spent on politicians.

  3. Lau thanks again for your patience in dealing with people I refer to as nutters. I have posted some of your info on a facebook page called “councils illegal in Australia”.100s of people give all sorts of whacky reasons why they think councils are illegal from misinterpretations of how referendums actually work, misreading of caselaw, the freeman (OPCA) idiots, magna carta misinterpreters, ignorance of how the constitution works in dividing powers between the states and C’th etc.
    I have never been bothered to respond to claims that Australia is a corporation but instead link your excellently sourced material. Might I also say I sympathise with the problems you continuously face – the scattergun arguments, changing subject, accusing you of being a gov spy or shill, saying things like watch this space or I’ll respond later but they never do – all these things are common to all manner of conspiracy nuts and the study of the individuals who deny positions such as you have shown would be an interesting study of itself.
    Again thanks for some rationality and research, and you certainly show more patience than I have with people pushing their rubbish to what, one must wonder, agenda. Personal gain or some misguided passion akin to religious fervour. Keep on fighting.

    • Lau Guerreiro:

      Thanks for your support Brent.
      I used to share your frustration, but recently I’ve been getting over the frustration and have found a bit more compassion for the people you call “nutters”.
      1) Some of them may actually have some mild case of mental illness – that’s not their fault.
      2) Some of them may have had the misfortune to be born with low intelligence. That’s not their fault either.

      I agree that it would be interesting to do a research study about the type of people who support these crazy conspiracy theories.

      My theory is that the leaders/experts who have websites and write articles promoting these crazy conspiracy theories fall into two categories:

      1) Fraudsters – who earn a buck from:
      – the advertising on their websites or
      – running workshops/trainings
      – donations from readers to help them run fake legal challenges etc. (I think some of them may use the subject as a way of finding people who are really gullible and establishing a relationship of trust with them so they can go on to con those people out of their money – it’s a form of “grooming”)
      – linking to other websites where they make money.

      2) People who didn’t do very well at school because they’re not very intelligent, but they blamed it on the school system and continued to have a high opinion of their own intelligence. Thirty years later they still think they’re more intelligent than those in “the system”. They also maintain a disdain for the “sheeple” who they accuse of blind obedience and conformity with “the system” in order to succeed. I think their disdain and sense of superiority is a defense mechanism they developed at school to help them cope with the embarrassment that they weren’t doing as well as their class mates. Thirty years later they’re still blaming “the system” for their troubles and they’re still not very intelligent.

      • SB:

        There is quite a bit of research on conspiracy theory belief actually and it’s complicated. The theories discussed here are I think related to American “sovereign citizen” ideas. These appeal to the sort of left-behind groups in declining areas who can’t understand why they are getting poorer. Frankly they are indeed being screwed by the American power structure, so there is that grain of truth in the craziness.
        Most people believe something that is a “conspiracy theory” in the broad sense of the authorities lying to us. Some are even true. Doctors really did experiment on Black patients at Tuskegee, for example.

  4. John Hughes:

    Maybe you could question why the Australian tax office has a trust fund account that is registered to receive gifts that are tax deductible? You dudes talk about conspiring theories the system is hell bent in many forms.Some just dont accept the fact they feed the demons they deny.

    • Lau Guerreiro:

      Where did you get that information? Do you have a link to it?
      Why don’t you contact the ATO and ask them about it? They might give you a very good legitimate reason. Or they might tell you that they don’t have such an account.
      If they tell you that they don’t have such an account then you need to go back to the people who told you that they do have such an account, and ask them where they got their information from and how they know that it’s true.

  5. john:

    yeah this didn’t age well

  6. Ryan:

    You literally didn’t prove anything other than the Australian coat of arms is registered in the US trademark and patent office.. just because you wrote a heap of bullshit doesn’t make it true.

  7. David coupland:

    so you are stating our Australian goverment is squeaky clean ……… and I have nothing to worry about . yours sincerely David Coupland ..

    • Lau Guerreiro:

      Why are you making stuff up? Where did I say that the Australian government is squeaky clean? I didn’t.
      Did you ever consider the possibility that individual politicians and groups of politicians can be very corrupt without having actually converted the government into a private company?
      Focus on exposing and getting rid of real corruption, instead of wasting your time on made up nonsense.

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