Trademark Public Search – A Complete Guide
A trademark includes marks, words, symbols, expressions, and signs used by a business to distinguish it from its challengers. Trademark plays an essential role in brand building by helping entities or companies to build a brand identitye for themselves. Therefore, all entities need to consider Trademark filing to safeguard their unique logo, symbol, name, or logo. But, before filing a Trademark application, entrepreneurs need to make sure their name or mark is unique. A Trademark public search permits companies to check the Trademark availability. In this write-up, we are going to understand about the Trademark public search.
What is the Meaning of Trademark Public Search?
A Trademark Public Search enables businesses to check the Trademark availability in India. A public search permits companies to find already registered Trademarks by going through the public records online. As an outcome, it can aid companies to avoid using the similar Trademark and discover a distinct and differentiating mark. The Trademark Office allows such IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights) only to the application that is distinct & original. As a result, if another Trademark with a similar symbol, logo, name, or word as yours already registered, the Trademark Office will cancel your Trademark Registration application. Hence, before applying for Trademark Registration, individuals & and entities should make sure that their Trademarks are distinctive.
Different Types of Trademark Public Search
In India, Trademark public search facility has three different categories, which are as follows:
- Word Mark Search: This search applies to the products & services which use wordmarks to recognise and distinguish themselves. It shows any marks or words that help in recognising or differentiating any products or services. Word Marks co prise numbers, words, letters, and typographic characters. If the product name of any company that produces goods/services is word-based, it comes under the word mark-based Trademark.
- Phonetic Search: It helps when Trademarks use a similar pronunciation. Similar-sounding Trademarks can create confusion, and entities can use this search method for these. Companies can file for separate Trademarks for a similar name by using different spellings. Clients or the company’s target audience can confuse one for the other, leading to the client’s loss for the company. Doing this Trademark public search before apply for Trademark Registration will aid in avoiding such confusion.
- Viena Code Search: It is a global standard for the classification of figurative basics of Trademarks. Hence, such a Trademark public search is applicable for symbolic elements comprising graphic labels, images, illustrations, and any combination of these. The Office of Trademarks furnishes a Viena code for the application of Trademark having any figurative element. While doing this Trademark public search, one should enter the Viena code followed by the goods or service class. India follows this global classification standard for the figurative mark.
Different Categories of Goods and Services
Doing a search of a Trademark requires a business to classify the good or services. According to the NICE, global classification standards for Trademark Registration, there are 15 Trademark categories. The first 34 Trademark categories represent goods, while the other 11 Trademark categories are for services. The categories of goods occur in the following ways:
- Raw Materials: The system categorise such goods based on the materials used to make them.
- Finished Goods: This classification based on their function or purpose.
- Multiple Materials: In this case, the categorisation occurs based on the predominating material.
- Multi-purpose Goods: Classification occurs based on their function and the raw materials used for producing them.
- Goods that form part of Other Product: The products & goods will share a similar category in such cases.
The categorisation of services occurs based on the activities involved in delivering that service. Further, rental services come under the same class as the services provided using rented objects. Services that give information, advice or consultation come under the similar category as the matters involving information, advice or consultation.
How to Conduct a Trademark Public Search in India?
Companies or firms can perform a Trademark public search in two different ways. The first method or initial search fundamentally checks online records and the Indian Trademark database. To perform such a search, peoples should provide details concerning the search type, class specification and an explanation of goods or services.
The second method of Trademark public search, known as a full-search, requires experts help. A candidate can seek help from a professional agency to conduct a full search to check the Trademark availability. Such professional agencies provide comprehensive reports based on all the vital specifications like business records & trade publications.
Why is it Necessary to Conduct a Public Search?
Doing a public search before applying for a Trademark is vital for different reasons, which are as follows:
- Avoid Legal Problems: Using a similar Trademark as another entity can lead to lawful problems. The other entity or company can file legal charges against you if you function with a similar Trademark. Using a registered Trademark without the consent or permission of the owner of a Trademark is also a legal offence.
- Avoid Confusion: Same Trademarks can create problems among the target public of a company. Such confusions can affect the business and the reputation of the company, and brand value. A public search before applying for the registration of the Trademark will prevent any chances of confusion.
- Choose the Best Trademark: Picking a good Trademark is essential for any entity or business as it performs as the company’s face by helping to create the brand value. Conducting a Trademark public search before applying will help businesses select the best-suited Trademark.
As you can see, conducting a public search for Trademark is a vital part of filing an application for Trademark. But, doing only an initial Trademark search requires not be sufficient before applying for the registration of a Trademark. The initial search will only bring up possible conflicts or lawful battles. On the other hand, a full search done with the professional agency will emphasise all possibilities of clash with other owners of Trademark.
Read our article:Recognise Your Suitable Class for Trademark Registration