5 FAQs: Why You Absolutely Need a Trademark Clearance Search
Before you get attached to a new branding idea and pour your time and money into developing it, there is a major step that needs to be taken first: conducting a trademark clearance search. Don’t worry, in this article, we’ll break down what is a trademark clearance search and why it’s an essential part in your branding strategy.
What is a trademark clearance search?
A trademark clearance search is a full review of brand names and logos that already exist to determine if there are any potential issues with your right to use or register your brand.
A trademark clearance search goes way deeper than doing a quick search on trademark database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
What does a trademark clearance search look for?
A comprehensive trademark clearance search usually searches trademarks that:
Are registered with the USPTO
Are pending registration with the USPTO
Have an expired registration with the USPTO
Have been abandoned during the trademark registration process
Are not registered at all (whether they exist online, as a company name or even as a twitter handle)
Why is it super important to have an attorney conduct the trademark search?
A trademark clearance search doesn’t just search for your exact brand name or logo. It looks for similar brands that might confuse your potential customers in mistaking your good or service with that of someone else’s. This “likelihood of confusion” is a legal term that requires legal analyses based on trademark law. An attorney well versed in trademarks is better equipped to use their legal expertise to help weigh the probabilities that your trademark application will be accepted by the USPTO if and when you apply for registration.
What’s the benefit of a trademark clearance search?
Once you have an attorney conduct the trademark clearance search and review the search report, she’ll be able to give you her professional opinion on how protectable your proposed trademark is and whether your brand needs to be reworked. The best part is that your attorney will be able to tell you the probabilities that your trademark application will be approved by the USPTO and give you a heads up on any potential roadblocks before you submit an application.
Are there any downsides to a trademark clearance search?
Any trademark clearance search is time sensitive since brands are being created and registered as a trademark every day. After getting the green light from your trusted attorney to apply for your trademark registration, you must do so immediately or you risk having to conduct (and pay for) a new and current trademark search to make sure no new brands were born that might lead to a likelihood of confusion with your trademark.
To wrap things up ...
One of the first steps in branding is making sure you conduct a trademark clearance search before finding out your brand is already taken by someone else. The best person to help you do that is your trusted trademark attorney. Click here to get a trademark attorney on your team to start protecting your brand.