Performing a trademark search is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that you will be creating a distinctive branding experience for your business, product or service. This will help to differentiate your product from those of your competitors in the eyes of your customers, which can in turn lead to more profit.
Second, performing a thorough search may cost a little more in the short-term, but is necessary and can save your business thousands of dollars in wasted marketing and advertising time and money. How? By ensuring that the mark you choose is not infringing another mark already in use and can be used by your business without having to change it afterwards. This can be a very expensive proposition and can hurt the goodwill of the company that you are trying to build!
Finally, doing a proper trademark search can help to avoid any future litigation as a result of having to defend a trademark infringement lawsuit. These lawsuits are not only expensive, but they will consume time that you should be using to run your new venture.
A company trademark denotes a singular source of goods or services. How can the customer know if the product or service that he is purchasing is the same product that he wishes to purchase? The customer “knows” because he recognizes and attaches his prior experience with the product to a word, logo, symbol, color or combination of these that are on the packaging or advertising of the product.
From a business standpoint, you want your product or service to stand out from your competition. Especially if you believe your product to be superior to others on the market. In order for this to happen, you need to have a distinctive trademark which separates you from that competition. Your trademark may be your most valuable business asset. Why take chances?
So, how can you ensure that the trademark you choose will be distinctive from any other trademark in use? The answer is through the performance of a thorough trademark search and opinion letter conducted by a knowledgeable attorney. These searches can include both U.S. and international trademarks depending on the scope of your business. A state and common law search should also be performed to fully protect your choice of trademark in the us. In addition, domain name searches and social media searches can be conducted to make sure that the trademark you use will not infringe on another mark or be diluted by existing trademarks.
A trademark search can uncover any potential issues which could arise with the use of your mark. It can show whether your intended mark or a substantially similar one is currently registered or in use by another.
If currently registered or in use, it can show the business type with which that mark is being used. This is important because some overlapping may be permissible/acceptable with different business types and plans. In addition, a trademark search can help you to learn where the mark is being used geographically. Again, some overlapping may be permissible based upon this information and your business plans.
Finally, it will show you the current registration status of any mark which might be the same or similar to your proposed mark. The mark may still be in active use or the mark could have been cancelled.
After conducting the trademark search, an attorney will draft what is called an opinion letter. An opinion letter is used to assess the legal strength or weakness of your proposed mark. Based upon this assessment, an attorney may suggest changes to the proposed mark or point out areas in which there may be a conflict. It may be that you come to the conclusion that the best course of action should be to adopt a new mark. Either way, you will have all the information you need to make an informed decision about the use of your mark.
By conducting a proper trademark search, you will be ensuring that you adopt a trademark that will make your business, product or service distinctive to the public, while helping you to avoid wasting unnecessary time and money on advertising, marketing and litigation.
Please call Intellequity IP Legal Services now at 503-575-1939 to get a free consultation to answer any questions you may have regarding your trademark search. We can also quote you a fee for the search and filing of your mark.