A vital stage in obtaining trademark registration is to conduct a thorough search to ensure the mark is available and distinguishable, and this should be performed prior to filing the registration application. Most Intellectual Property Offices will have an online database that enables a straightforward search to be carried out to ascertain if another party already registered the mark. The process of trademark searches may vary from country to country, in the same way that registration procedures will also differ.
Importance of a trademark search
Through conducting a thorough trademark search, and finding that your mark is unique, available and applicable for registration, you can heighten your chances of being successful in your registration application.
As mentioned, the country, or countries, in which you seek registration, will stipulate the process for trademark searches, and this may vary depending on whether or not the IPO has an online trademark database. Some countries do not provide an online database of their registered marks and so it is necessary to enlist the services of a professional consultancy firm to perform the search service for you.
Where a mark is registered as a CTM (community trademark) under the OHIM registry, there is one main database available online for owners or representatives to perform the search.
The importance of conducting a search of your mark prior to registration is huge. Not only will a search act in your favor for a successful registration procedure, but in cases of infringement, the court will see that the owner, through conducting a trademark search with a professional consultancy firm, has acted in due diligence when using the mark.
It is generally suggested that a trademark attorney or consultancy firm should be used when requiring a search of your mark, as the process can be time consuming and complex if you are not familiar with the process.
Although it is not legally required to conduct a trademark search; the risk of your registration application being unsuccessful will be lowered dramatically and it is therefore unlikely that you will lose your application fee.
See our Trademark Search service page to learn how Starting Business can help.