Trademark clearance searches are critical! It is unfortunate, but many entrepreneurs have been in the position of developing a brand name or logo only to later find out that someone who had ownership of the same trademark was objecting and legally barring launch. Unexpected trademark battles can be devastating – upending months of development, undermining your reputation, wasting what you’ve invested – which is why it’s important to take proactive steps to avoid potential legal consequences.
What Is a Trademark Clearance Search?
A trademark clearance search will identify any possible trademark conflicts. A conflict can happen when someone else is already using the same name. Before developing a new brand, trademark clearance searches can save a lot of problems, delays and costs in the future.
Why Conduct a Clearance Search?
Before launching a new product, one must conduct a clearance search to see if the product name is trademarked. It can be tempting for companies to use names that are similar so long as the company does not offer any overlap with competing products or services. However, those without a trademark may lose rights to even their own product in the changing market. Those lacking trademarks may find themselves forever reliant on the permission of other brands and could end up having limited options in terms of what they can do with their own business.
What is the Benefit of a Clearance Search?
Trademark clearance searches are of the utmost importance when you are launching a new product or starting a new business. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) made 60 million trademark files since 1881 and only 28 percent were from US-based businesses. That leaves 72 million trademarks that you may need to contend with in your endeavors. The goal of a clearance search is to double-check for any trademark names, applications, or registrations before proceeding with your new brand. Costing you time and money means lost possible revenues or failed investments if you choose not to pursue the project because of a discovery of conflict it will prevent damage lawsuits across multiple industries.
When Should I Skip a Clearance Search?
While you should always do a trademark clearance search, it’s best to not do one at the following times: never! It’s never a good time not to do a clearance search. Clearance searches are critical for the success of your brand.
Who Shoud I Hire to do the Search?
Hire Brian Russ Law, Inc. to complete your search for you. We have experience conducting such searches and conduct them regularly. The trademark search is to make sure that the business name or trademark you’re using/planning on using is not already taken by someone else. Hire an attorney to conduct the search for you.
What’s the Difference Between a Clearance Search and a Knockout Search?
A clearance search is much broader than a knockout search. A knockout search generally only covers the existing registry and does not evaluate common law results. Trademark and clearance searches are different in the sense that the search for a trademark will usually cost more and is done before launching a brand, whereas clearance searches are done post-launch to avoid challenges. Clearance searches can lead to delay in manufacturing or product endorsement agreements, whereas recognition searches can prevent issues during launch.
Should I File an Application Before Securing a Domain Name?
After securing a domain name, you may find that it is already taken by someone in the Intellectual Property (IP) business. You might be able to acquire it from the person because he or she does not have a trademark or patent for the name, but you could also expend a lot of time and money fighting for ownership of the domain if you think it’s worth it. If there is no IP involved, then an organic search for your brand name will show you whether your brainchild has already been claimed.