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How to Do a Trademark Search in 3 Simple Steps

Starting a brand is like starting a new adventure. You’ve got this awesome idea, a killer brand name, and visions of your logo everywhere. But wait! Before you print those T-shirts and launch that website, there’s something super important you need to do—a trademark search. Why, you ask? Let’s break it down in simple terms.




Making Sure Your Brand is Truly Yours


Trademark registration is like calling dibs on your brand legally, but it's not as quick as shouting "dibs!". The registration process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, depending on which country you are registering your trademark. Imagine spending all that time and money on your brand, only to find out later that someone else had already called dibs on it. That's why doing a trademark search is a big deal.

 

Doing a trademark search is like doing your homework before you set your heart on a brand name. It helps you see if someone else is already using a similar name or logo. If they are, you might have to think of something else. This way, you can avoid stepping on anyone's toes and getting into legal trouble later on.



How to Do the Trademark Search?


Firstly, you can use the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database, which covers lots of countries, to see if your brand name or logo is already taken. Some countries, like Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MYIPO), even have their own databases online for anyone to use. But here’s the thing—just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should, not everyone knows how to make sense of these search results. Or, just because your name doesn’t appear in the search result, it doesn’t mean your trademark is registrable.


Global Brand Database from World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)


Trademark Database from Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MYIPO)



We have summarised the process of trademark searches into 3 simple steps.

 

Step 1: Choose the Right Country

 

Registration of trademark is territory-specific. Hence, it is crucial to begin identifying the country where you plan to register and protect your trademark. This decision should align with your business operations and future growth strategies, ensuring you're looking in the right legal jurisdiction to avoid sifting through irrelevant global data.

 

Step 2: Determine Your trademark Classes


Trademarks are organized into classes that represent different goods and services. Pinpointing the correct class(es) for your trademark is essential for a targeted search. This step involves identifying not only the classes that directly relate to your current offerings but also any classes that may encompass future expansions or related services.

 

Step 3: Conduct the Search with Creativity

 

Once you've pinpointed the country and classes, it’s time to dive into the search. Using the designated country's intellectual property (IP) office's search engine, input your proposed trademark. If available, take advantage of advanced search tools like WIPO's image search for logos. Remember, creativity in how you search—considering variations, phonetic similarities, and visual resemblances—can greatly aid in uncovering potential conflicts.

 

By following these three streamlined steps, you can effectively conduct a preliminary trademark search. This approach not only simplifies the process but also ensures you're making informed decisions to protect and distinguish your brand in the marketplace.



Getting a Trademark Agent Might Be a Good Idea


While you can totally do a trademark search on your own, sometimes it's worth getting a trademark agent to help out. They can dig deeper and understand the search results better than most of us, or interpret the search results in a way that most people can’t. They can tell you if those similar marks you found are going to be a problem and help you figure out what to do next. This can save you from making a costly mistake.

 

Besides, by leveraging on the specialised knowledge of trademark agent in trademark search techniques and keywords, you will be able to receive more accurate results. They are adept at navigating the complex landscape of trademark databases, using specific search strategies that go beyond basic queries. This enables thorough search, identifying potential conflicts that might not be apparent to the untrained eye. By leveraging their skills, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of trademark disputes, ensuring a smoother path to securing their brand's identity.



Conclusion

 

Doing a trademark search is like checking the weather before a picnic. It’s a step that can save you from a lot of potential headaches. It’s about making sure your brand can grow and thrive without any unexpected legal storms. So, do your homework, consider calling in the pros, and set your brand up for the success it deserves.






Written by,


Registered Trademark, Patent and Design Agent

LL.B (HONS), CLP

Advocate & Solicitor (Non-Practising)




Disclaimer: The above information is merely for general sharing and does not constitute any legal advice. Readers are advised to seek individual advice from professionals.





© 2024 by IP Gennesis Sdn Bhd.


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