Before registering a trademark, it's important to complete a trademark search. This will eliminate the risk that your trademark or brand is not already registered. When searching, it is important to consider marks that are similar to your mark as well as marks that are the same. Similar marks can have an impact on your trademark registration.
UK Trademark Search
The UK Intellectual Property Office hold online records of every trademark that they have registered. The search facility within this database which enables you to search under the following criteria:-
1. A word search
2. An image search
3. Word and Image
4. Word or Image
5. Reserved Marks
The word search can be broken down into further categories. You can search under:-
-contains word This will search all marks that contain the text that you enter (one word only)
-contains string This will search all marks that contain the text that you enter (more than one word)
-exact match This will search the exact text that you enter
-starts with This will search all marks that begin with the text that you enter
The image search is a little more complicated and contains thirty categories, then a further two option boxes of sub categories. You must first decide which category your image falls under, then categorise it further. It is also useful to use the classification part of the text if you are image searching, as this will help filter out any classes which may not be relevant to your registration.
From this search, you should be able to get a rough idea of whether your trade mark is already registered or whether or not you need to seek legal advice or support in searching or registering your mark. The UK IPO state that "this not been designed as a comprehensive trade mark search facility and should not be used to determine conclusively whether a conflicting trade mark already exists."
EU (Community) Trademark Search
The EU Trademark search facility can be completed on the OHIM registry database online. CTM-ONLINE provides ready access to information on Community trade mark (CTM) applications and registrations including online access to CTM files.
You can find the UK Trademark Database here: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-find/t-find-text.
You can find the OHIM Trademark Database here: http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/QPLUS/databases/searchCTM.en.do.
For more information on this article, or to get a FREE no obligation UK/EU Trademark Search by a qualified Intellectual Property Lawyer or Free Legal Advice on Trademarks, contact http://www.trademarkdesignprotection.com/.