Where you are considering using or seeking to register a new trade mark, we generally recommend that clearance searches are undertaken prior to filing or commencement of use of the new mark.
These searches help to identify any third party marks which already exist and which could act as a block to your registration or use of the proposed trade mark. While no clearance search is exhaustive, it does provide a ‘heads up’ about the potential risks. It is very rare for a clearance search to be completely clear (especially where the proposed mark contains standard English words). However, where a clearance search identifies a significant concern (e.g. a very similar mark owned by a large competitor or a known litigious company), it may be wise to chose an alternative mark. The clearance search therefore helps identify any legal risks associated with your proposed new brand to allow you to analyse and decide if, commercially, you still wish to proceed with the brand before you proceed too far or start incurring significant costs trading under and promoting your new brand.
That said, such clearance searches are not compulsory and you may decide to proceed with using/filing the mark (such as the brand name or logo) and dealing with any oppositions, objections or infringement actions if and when these are received.
Next – FAQs