Significance of Trademark Search:
A Trademark search has now almost become a mandatory step which is a part of due diligence carried out by the Trademark attorney before applying for the Trademark with the registry, the significance of this search can be understood by multifarious advantages which this search yields. The major advantages of Trademark Searches are as follows:
- Trademarks are granted only to the mark which is unique and a Trademark search is the only way to determine whether the mark being applied is distinctive or has been used before.
- Trademark Search gives us a fair idea of probable opposition which the applied mark shall be facing in the near future and gives an opportunity for the proprietor to prepare the defenses against the same.
- Trademark search also affords the proprietor to make prior changes to the mark to the extent of similarity found while searching for similar trademarks helping them to be protected from any sort of opposition.
Thus by a meticulous trademark search, the proprietor shall ensure smooth registration of his trademark avoiding any third party conflicts resulting in quicker registration.
Due to the above-mentioned benefits of the Trademark search, it is highly recommended to conduct such a search before applying for the Trademark.
Conducting a Class Search:
The first step in conducting a Trademark search would be determining the ‘Class’ under which our applied Trademark shall lie. This step is necessary owing to the fact that a trademark is protected against infringement only if both the marks are registered under the same class. Thus similar trademarks applied under different classes shall not be conflicting unless the other mark falls under the definition of ‘Well Known Trademark’. The Nice Classification of Trademarks is a universally accepted form of Trademark classification that has a total number of 45 classes out of which the first 35 belongs to the category of ‘goods’ and the remaining 36-45 belongs to the category of ‘Services’. Thus the proprietor must be certain about the classes under which he wants the goods/services to be registered under as the same shall not be beneficial only for Trademark search but also for Trademark application.
Key Points and Words while Searching:
Prohibited marks are the marks that are not permitted to be registered as a trademark in India, hence the proprietor must be certain that the applied mark does not fall in the list of prohibited marks. Eg. ‘ISO’ mark.
Well Known Trademarks are those trademarks that have become very popular across the geographical boundary and have created an immense reputation of its brand name and thus such marks are capable of being protected even though the applied mark and the well-known trademark are registered under different classes. Eg. Rolex, Gucci.
Multi-class registration refers to the trademark which has been registered under two or more classes and while searching for prior art the proprietor must be aware of the multi-class under which the similar trademark has been registered.
The stage of the Trademark must also be noted for the similar trademark pertaining to the stage of the registration like approved, opposed or rejected as it may help in deciding the possibility of registration of the applied mark and chances of opposition by similar marks.
Vienna code classification gives the details of the international classification of the figurative elements of marks that are required for checking a trademark on the Vienna code search criteria.
Searching of the Trademark
The process of conducting a trademark search is quite simple and can be carried out in 4 simple steps which are as follows:
- Visit the official website of trademark registration India: https://ipindiaonline.gov.in. that contains complete details of all the trademarks filed along with its details, status etc… There are certain other databases to run a trademark search however the official website is safest to run the trademark search.
- Click on the Trademarks tab and click on the ‘Public Search’ in the drop-down box.
- Conduct the search for the mark.
- After filling in the required details as demanded by the search criteria, click on the search button below.
- The result page will enlist all the similar trademarks filed by any other person across India along with the class of the trademark and its status which could be used by the proprietor to analyze the possible infringing trademarks.
Thus it can be seen that the process of conducting a trademark search is quite simple and does not require a lot of resources, however, yields a lot of benefit by providing the proprietor with the chance to modify his mark before applying in order to avoid unnecessary objections which may disrupt the process of registration causing inordinate delay and unwanted expenses. Thus it is desirable and advisable to conduct a Trademark search before applying the mark to the registry.
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