When it comes to brand identity, the first impression matters. Hence it’s crucial to develop a distinctive brand name no one has used before. But how would you ensure your brand name is as unique as a fingerprint; this is where the UK trademark search comes into the picture.
If you want to protect your logo, brand name and other intellectual property (IP) elements, a trademark clearance search should be your first step in brand building. This blog includes everything you need to know about trademark search UK for brand protection, so let’s get into it.
Importance of Conducting a UK Trademark Search
No matter if you are starting a new business or going for a rebrand, the trademark search would be a powerful tool to identify whether any other company has registered for a brand name, sound, logo or colours similar to yours.
The trademark search in Uk helps you identify the same or similar marks before it’s too late. With the help of trademark search, you can opt for a different name for your business and save yourself from legal issues, reputational damage and other potential risks.
Here is a list of reasons why Trademark Search is essential.
No Risks of Infringement
Professional trademark search in the UK helps you determine the distinctiveness of your trademarks and ensure there are no similar claims. If not identified earlier, it may lead to costly infringement claims by other parties.
Saves Time and Money
Trademark clearance protects your brand and saves you time and money by avoiding legal disputes and costly rebrands. Hence, it is more cost-effective to invest in professional help rather than doing things over and tackling troublesome legal issues.
Increased Approval Chances
Besides evaluating similar marks, trademark clearance also helps you identify whether your trademark is at risk of rejection for reasons such as being descriptive or generic. Knowing complexities beforehand, you can make adjustments earlier for better chances of trademark approval.
A Glimpse into The Competition
Professional search for trademark UK helps you get helpful insight into your competition so that you have an idea of your future decision-making related to intellectual property or branding and marketing.
A Step-by-Step Guide to the United Kingdom Trademark Search
1. Define the Scope of Your Search
Before conducting your clearance, you need to be clear about what you want to search for. Trademarks are categorized into 45 classes based on goods and services. Hence, you must know their class to protect specific goods and services.
Moreover, you should know the keywords and phrases necessary for your brand, which you will further use to conduct your search across various platforms.
2. Conduct A Preliminary Search
Start with the primary and most crucial resources for the UK trademark database search, such as Searching the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) database and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) database.
The IPO maintains all the existing databases of registered trademarks. Additionally, to register your brand in the European Union, you must check EUIPO.
3. Search Online Databases
Other than these databases, you can extend your horizon of search and scan some other popular and reliable databases such as WIPO’s Global Brand Database, Trademarkia and Thomson CompuMark to make sure your trademark is secured regardless of geographical location.
4. Identify Similar Trademarks
While searching, you should proactively identify the visual and phonetic similarities between the trademarks. Your purpose is not only to evaluate the exact matches, but you also need to have a keen eye to pinpoint similar shapes, designs, slogans, and phrases that are very close to yours.
5. Analyze Potential Conflicts
Once you have encountered a similar trademark, you must weigh the amount of conflict it may cause your brand. If it’s too similar to cause a legal dispute, it’s better to tweak your trademarks for some modifications. Otherwise, you will have to go through the hassle of rebrand and lawsuits.
6. Determine the Availability of Your Proposed Trademark
Besides official and other global databases, you must check your keywords on search engines and social media to ensure the availability of your proposed trademark. Moreover, if a similar mark hasn’t been used for more than five years or is listed as expired, you can send a letter or email to the owner to ask for their consent to replace the trademark with yours.
7. Evaluate your Search Results
Once you finish the search, the last step is to assess your search results. The evaluation includes closely examining similar trademarks and estimating their similarity level. It enables you to identify whether there is a likelihood of confusion and legal disputes with these marks.
Common Mistakes to Avoid when Conducting a Uk Trademark Search
Lack of Attention to Details: Oftentimes, searchers make the mistake of considering only the exact matches and skip similarities that may cause issues later. Therefore, watching and identifying similar elements and phonic variations is equally essential.
Hyperfocusing on Registered Trademarks Only: Other than registered trademarks, you also need to explore trademarks that haven’t been registered yet. Therefore, scan common law marks, search engines and other sources of trademark rights.
Not using Variety of Tools: Although UK IPO trademark search is a free way to access and analyze the data, it doesn’t provide a comprehensive insight into conflicting trademarks. Hence you shouldn’t only rely on IPO but execute your search across various other platforms.
Confusing UK and EU Trademarks: If your business operates in the UK only, it’s okay to limit your search to the UK; however, if you have planned to extend it to EU countries, you must expand your search as well and look for both IPO and EUIPO databases.
Best Practices for United Kingdom Trademark Search
Collaborating with IP Experts: Conducting trademark searches by yourself might seem easy; however, seeking professional help and collaborating with IP experts is advised. Trademark specialists provide extensive due diligence around your proposed trademark and other insights such as key opportunities and risks. Moreover, they also assist you with the registration process.
Conducting Periodic Searches: A trademark search is not a one-and-done process, but you need periodic examinations to proactively detect any new trademark registered since your last clearance. It allows you to mitigate potential conflicts as early as possible, keeping your brand safe.
Keeping Accurate Records: Trademark clearance is not only about searching but keeping records of the search you have conducted. A well-maintained record is evidence that you performed a thorough investigation.
UK trademark search is no less than a protection shield against claims and disputes that may harm your brand and cause significant financial loss. It’s an early prevention that saves you from a lot of trouble and helps keep your IP protected from unforeseen threats.
So, make sure you search for UK trademarks beforehand to keep your brand identity unique and free from legal issues.