Risks of Not Searching a Trademark
A trademark search is highly recommended before using a name or logo mark in commerce. The trademark search will discover if anyone is using a name or logo that is similar to your proposed mark. Without a thorough search, you wouldn't know if your mark may violate the rights of a preceding mark. An owner with prior rights can sue and force you to stop using the mark on the grounds of infringement. Even pending marks that have not yet registered can cause you problems. In fact, if two owners file the same trademark, the applicant with the earliest filing date has priority in the filing process. The other applicant must wait the outcome of the prior application before it proceeds in the trademark filing process.
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If these conflicts occur and your product is already in commerce, can you imagine the loss of investing time and resources to build a brand name over time only to discover that a conflicting mark already exists in the marketplace.
Searching a trademark before filing or launching a brand name in commerce is critical. You will have the peace of mind and assurance to know if your proposed name or logo already exists in the marketplace.
Benefits of a Trademark Search
The more you know about the benefits of a trademark search, the more you'll realize that you need it before using a mark name, logo or phrase in commerce. An in-depth trademark search analysis is highly recommended to determine if your proposed mark is available and clear of potential conflicts. There are several important benefits in a trademark search.
Discover Potential Conflicting Marks
First, a trademark search tells you whether someone has already begun to use an identical or similar mark. If your proposed mark conflicts with an existing mark, you are inviting an infringement law suit. Such dire actions would cost you legal fees, monetary damages, and would force you to stop using your mark name. It is critical to know if your mark is free of any possible conflicts before you invest time and resources in a mark (product name, marketing materials, design logos, etc).
Save Time and Money
Secondly, as mentioned before, a good trademark search will save you time and money. In the long run, it will help you stay clear of preceding marks that are similarly confusing. In addition, a comprehensive trademark search will help you avoid lost marketing and production costs. For example, suppose you launch and print thousands of dollars worth of advertisements, product labels or brochures only to discover later that you may be forced to change your product name to avoid infringement with a similar preceding mark.
Immediate savings can be seen when trying to file a trademark application with the Patent and Trademark Office. A trademark search will reveal any registered or pending marks that are exact or similar to your mark. Therefore, if you discover that conflicting marks already exist, then you will save yourself the trademark application fee by not filing the same name. The government application fee is typically non-refundable.
In-depth Analytical Search Results
A comprehensive trademark search will reveal not only exact matches, but will also look at marks that are similar in sounding, appearance, and meaning. It includes looking at marks having alternative spelling, anagrams, wildcards, word truncation, root words, multi-character substitutions, word segments and permutations, character replacement truncation variations, pseudo marks, and more. For example, if you propose a mark name "Cat Clothing", a comprehensive search will reveal if "Kat Clothes" exists. Although they are spelled differently, both marks have similar sounding and meaning. A trademark conflict exists if it is similarly confusing in appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression.