Insights 16.03.2020

Planning for success: Trademark availability searching

It takes time, resources and money to create and launch distinctive and effective brands. Make sure the brand name you have chosen is yours to use with a trademark availability search.

Trademark searching is an important first step in most trademark registration or brand launch strategies, as it enables companies to avoid the cost and effort of launching brands that infringe third-party trademark rights. Such registrations will invariably result in the other party raising an opposition to the chosen mark or, even worse, if the opposition occurs after the ‘new’ mark has been put into use, it may result in production processes needing to be halted, products recalled, advertising campaigns cancelled, and new branding developed and launched at short notice.

How to check your chosen name is free

Search engines are useful tools for checking to see if a trademark that is the same or similar to a chosen mark is already in use and, if so, where and for what products or activities. However, such online searches will not identify marks that have already been registered, but not yet launched into a marketplace – or at least not yet in such a way that they appear highly ranked in an online search. Only a detailed trademark availability search in official or purpose-built databases will be able to identify such potential conflicts.

In addition, a trademark search can also examine a chosen mark for unintended meanings or associations (a linguistic search). This is of particular importance should a company be launching its product or brand in overseas countries where you could be caught out by linguistic differences.

Finding the right support

As critical as trademark searching is, many companies put off undertaking availability searches, as so many services in this area tend to result in volumes of unsorted, unmanageable and often irrelevant data that needs to be sifted through by the brand owner.

To assist businesses, NovumIP offers a ‘Search with advice’ service to consolidate and analyse the results, providing brand owners with a clear, insightful report that will assist speed in decision-making, and take the pressure off internal marketing and IP teams. For example, it includes:

  • An overall legal opinion rendered by an experienced trademark attorney summarising key findings, such as ability to register, linguistic/connotation issues, availability, and synopsis of recommendations;
  • A consolidated risk assessment chart by country for ease of comparison;
  • A per-country legal opinion rendered by a local expert that includes the position of a potential trademark in all relevant classes, the likelihood of achieving a successful registration and recommendations for next steps.

For more information on NovumIP’s ‘Search with advice’ service or to request a sample report, please get in touch.

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