Undertaking a trademark search can help to overcome business risk when launching new branded products and services or expanding into new markets. We explain why, when, and how to start.
To minimize potential conflicts between your chosen trademark and an existing or pending brand or trade name, it’s important to make sure that your chosen trademark is available at the earliest possible stage in its development.
Do-it-yourself trademark clearance platforms, AI, and analyst-based trademark search services enable brand owners to clear new brands for use quickly and effectively on an international scale. But why, when, and how should you start?
What Does a Trademark Search Cover?
A trademark search will not only scour the databases of IP offices for registered trademarks but can also be used to identify conflicts with unregistered trademarks, business names, drug names, registered domain names, and even mobile phone App names.
The database you need to search will depend on your markets of operation and exact needs. For example, you can search against national rights only or undertake searches on an international basis. You can also choose to search for a specific product or service, a trademark number, an image, or an owner name.
Why Undertake a Trademark Search?
By searching the relevant IP office databases, you can identify clashes between your chosen name(s) and existing trademark registrations in a specific ‘class’ of goods or services.
Screening searches can give you a go/no go answer, while more detailed clearance searches will allow you to investigate the name in more detail before choosing and filing your trademark. Alternatively, if you have a list of viable names, you can use trademark searches to ‘knock out’ any that could cause problems. This will raise any potential business risks before you launch your new brand or expand into a new market.
When Should You Run a Trademark Search?
The first time you should consider a trademark search is when you are planning to register a new trademark. By undertaking a trademark screening or clearance search, you can search relevant databases to discover if there are any pre-registered marks significantly similar to your own that may be a barrier to your ability to register and launch your chosen name.
If you have a shortlist of potential brand names, this search will help you narrow the pool of potential trademarks to those with the best chance of successful registration and of free use in the marketplace. Of course, you can search for one name only if there is no shortlist of preferred names.
How to Conduct a Trademark Search
You must be able to access the appropriate databases to undertake a trademark search. Each IP office has its own database, so if you need to undertake searches frequently or across multiple markets, then it’s far quicker and more efficient to use one centralized tool.
For example, to help inform decision-making, Questel’s Markify Clearance Platform consolidates all relevant information into a single report to avoid collating disparate information from each source. It also provides a tailored risk score to help you quickly assess each candidate name.
Should your trademark search raise red flags, it’s advisable to take legal advice on how or whether to proceed with your application .
4 Reasons to Use a Trademark Clearance Platform
As importantly, our trademark search platform enables you to screen trademarks even more effectively using AI-driven search technology. By the end of the process, you can expect to have a 360-degree overview of all risks related to your preferred trademarks, as well as a summary of priority names for a full availability search.
Why AI Is Integral to Our Trademark Search Technology
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) drives quality, speed, and cost-effectiveness in trademark clearance searching. The Markify algorithm was statistically built with more than 1 million official cases (where examiners have found two marks confusingly similar) analyzed. This enables us to deliver a 99% accuracy rate for our users:
- We find more than 99% of all potential conflicts in every available IP office database.
- Screening searches take seconds with Markify ProSearch™, while full clearance searches take less than 15 minutes with Markify Comprehensive Search.
- The technology reduces manual work, saving costs by freeing up administrative teams to focus on more strategic tasks.
Should You Outsource Your Trademark Search Needs?
Broadly, you have two options for managing trademark searches. You can either conduct searches in-house or outsource them to a trusted supplier. With Questel, however, you can choose a mixture of both.
While the Markify Clearance Platform provides a comprehensive do-it-yourself solution for managing trademark searches in-house, you can also choose to outsource part or all of the trademark search process by opting for our on-demand pre-selection services and/or analyst review.
Our analyst-driven services are ideal solutions for any IP department looking for a focused report with results already selected and filtered by an expert eye. Combining Markify technology with our years of experience in managing small and big search projects for worldwide clients, our IP analysts conduct the search and filter the results to ease the review of the results. We report only the relevant findings in an easy-to-use summary and, as we know timing is key, we offer both standard and urgent turnaround time to ensure your filing project is on the right track .
 Questel does not provide any legal services. Legal services are provided by independent IP attorneys on the basis of a separate engagement agreement between you and, if you wish to, a partner IP attorney firm.
- Download our eBook for more practical advice on how to create a robust trademark search and watch program, including how our suite of AI-driven trademark search and watch solutions can provide support.
- Watch our webinar for further detail on how to design your trademark search and watch strategies to manage business risk.
- Contact our subject matter experts to find out more about our trademark search technology or services.