A trademark is an image, phrase, or combination of these that identifies a particular supplier of products and services. A registered trademark entitles one to use a mark exclusively to describe or represent their products or services.
Indian firms have recently grown increasingly conscious of the significance of intellectual property rights. This may cause a progressive rise in the number of trademark applications. As a result, it is crucial for both established and startup companies to file for trademark registration and be aware of any pending applications identical to their own.
The first step in preventing trademark conflicts is to thoroughly examine the clearance of trademarks (or brand names, trade names, business names, etc.) to ensure that any associated trademark infringement difficulties may be successfully avoided.
In light of the aforementioned, we discuss in this blog why and how to do a trademark search in India.
Definition of a Trademark
A trademark is a recognisable image, phrase, word, or symbol that identifies a particular good and legally distinguishes it from all other goods of the same sort. A trademark recognises the company’s brand ownership and distinguishes a product from that company. Trademarks can be registered or unregistered and are typically regarded as intellectual property.
A trademark serves four purposes, as listed hereunder:
- Describes the product(s) or service(s) and where they came from
- Assures the products and services quality
- Promotes the product(s) or service(s)
- Helps the general public form an impression of the product(s) or service(s)
The Value of a Trademark Search
One can conduct a trademark search on the Indian Trademark Registry database maintained by the government or on a website operated by a third-party service provider, such as Kanakkupillai.com.
It establishes whether a proposed trademark is used with particular goods and services. Through a trademark search in India, it is possible to locate numerous identical wordmarks and names in a particular phonetically similar class.
Why Conduct a Trademark Search?
Avoiding infringement lawsuits
A trademark encourages firms to invest in their brand by forbidding others from using it.
Cases involving trademark infringement depend on the trademark owner proving that the infringer’s use of the mark confuses consumers as to the source of the products. With trademark protection, a company has the legal authority to prevent others from using its mark, but only when there is a likelihood of consumer confusion about the source of the goods.
Because the brand owner must demonstrate that the claimed infringers are confusing customers, trademark infringement cases are costly. The owner must use data, expertise, and research to demonstrate that confusion is causing a loss of sales or goodwill for the brand in order to receive infringement damages.
The right to use a trademark to sell goods or services belongs to the trademark holder, not the mark itself. The trademark can safeguard the business’s investment in building goodwill with its clients. Examples of trademark infringement include not just using a protected trademark but also using that trademark in a way that could deceive consumers.
Fundamental knowledge of trademark law, thorough investigation, and solid judgment are necessary to prevent trademark infringement. Ensure you are not coming too close to an existing brand before beginning any new endeavour.
Protecting your brand
The registration of a trademark provides the best protection for products. A trademark that has been registered grants a company full ownership of the words (such as the brand name), logos, taglines, and other expressions that it uses to set itself apart from other companies. It can also be used to take legal action against infringers.
The straightforward methods for registering and protecting your brand name in India are listed below:
- Sign up for the trademark office’s website.
- Research trademarks
- Submitting a trademark application
- Examining a trademark application
- Hearing on show cause
- Mark’s publication in the trademark journal
- Trademark certification and registration
Applying for international trademark registration will protect your trademark in many countries worldwide. The World Intellectual Property Organization, where the application was submitted, is involved. The countries where your trademark should be recognised are specified in your application.
Ensuring business success
Along with developing a powerful trademark for your brand, it’s critical to ensure that nobody else in the world is using the trademark you’ve developed. Even though trademark law is territorial, the Internet and mobile devices have made the world a single market. With a few exceptions, rising firms target consumers worldwide; therefore, the trademark you select should consider this.
Better to prevent than to treat. A company or startup would be better off focusing its efforts on growing its company than devoting money to defending its trademark rights after failing to do a trademark clearance search.
Regrettably, the trademark clearance search is the most undervalued service in your brand-building process. However, the cornerstone of your strategy for creating a robust and enduring trademark for your company should be a trademark clearance search.
You can avoid all legal hassles by performing a quick internet trademark search before deciding on your trademark. There is a misperception that conducting an online trademark search to clear your brand is expensive and time-consuming. Even though it is essential to hire a competent attorney that specialises in trademark services, you may quickly conduct a preliminary clearance check online. Many nations maintain an online trademark registration system that is freely accessible to the public.
It is not necessary to register a trademark in many nations, particularly common-law nations like India, to seek protection. In these situations, it might be beneficial to spend some time using Google to search the Internet and online trademark databases to check whether there is even a remote chance that another company is using the trademark you have chosen to use.
How to Conduct a Trademark Search?
Conducting a preliminary search
You should do a trademark clearance check before registering your mark. It should include looking for any relevant pending trademark applications, registered trademarks, or trademarks already in use. However, you can check later if you’re concerned about whether your trademark is clear of any legal issues.
Hiring a professional search company
It is advised to work with a reputable search firm of your choice to carry out a trademark search for your organisation for the following reasons:
- External trademark search professionals use intellectual property analysts with specialised knowledge in various domains and businesses.
- These businesses are run by skilled trademark analysers who hire specialists specifically to do trademark searches for their clients.
- They allocate the assignment to a committed team or individual with specified completion dates for the project.
- Most trademark search companies have paid membership fees to most worldwide trademark search databases.
- They have qualified individuals on staff who have experience with word and translation variations and the development of numerous database-specific search algorithms.
- Trademark search businesses have devoted staff members who deliver reports on time or earlier than anticipated.
Conducting a comprehensive search
The Indian Trademark Registry’s database is searched for trademarks by the general public. The search determines a recommended trademark’s availability in connection with connected goods or services. Notably, during the public search of trademarks, trademarks that have been registered with any of the Indian trademark registries are accessible.
Using the Indian trademark database, a free online trademark search can be done in India.
In the Indian trademark database, three different sorts of trademark searches can be carried out:
- Wordmark search—for performing precise and nearly precise word searches
- Phonetic search—to look for words with similar or identical phonemes
- Vienna Code search—to look for comparable artistic creations
1) Wordmark search
Choose “wordmark” from the list of search options, then type the proposed trademark’s terms into the box that appears to conduct a wordmark search.
There are 45 classes for trademark registration, so the correct class or classes must be entered in the space provided. One can only search using one class at a time in the Indian trademark database.
Any prefix approach, including “Starts With,” “Contains,” or “Match With,” can be used to do a wordmark search.
- All trademarks beginning with the searched keyword will be shown in the results when the “Starts With” option is used in a search.
- Similarly, all trademarks containing the searched keyword will be shown in the search results with the keyword entered in the “Contains” option.
- On the other hand, the “Match With” option will display all trademarks in the results that exclusively match the entered keyword.
To display the search results after providing all the required information, click the “Start Search” button. The necessary information for each trademark will be on the table, including the S. No., related trademarks, and images. Click the selection box for the chosen trademark in S. No. or look at the box in the left-top corner to view all search results. After checking the boxes, click the “report” button to view a detailed report of all the trademark findings.
The trademark may be filed if no identical trademarks are found after searching.
2) Phonetic search
A phonetic search uses the same methodology as a wordmark search, except the prefix method. As a result, the phonetic search of the trademark can be carried out in a way similar to that previously mentioned.
When you conduct a phonetic search, you can retrieve all the terms with a similar sound to your mark name. Notably, by confirming that the mark is distinctive and different from other marks on the market, completing a phonetic trademark search removes the possibility of confusion.
3) Vienna code search
Finding similar device marks is the main use of the Vienna Code search. The “Vienna Code” section must be filled with the six-digit code before selecting the proper class. After the search, all marks containing the device will be shown in the result table.
The processes listed above are standard practices for trademark searches in India. It is advised to consult an expert to learn the likelihood that your brand name or logo will be eligible for trademark registration. Before submitting a trademark application, clients can get advice from Kanakkupillai’s Trademark Search and Monitoring Service. Furthermore, before launching their goods or services in new areas, product-driven businesses across the board now rely on trademark searches.
For the reasons mentioned earlier, you can always use a professional firm’s assistance to search for a trademark and afterwards register your desired trademark.
To achieve your goal in this regard, however, you can contact Govche India Pvt. Ltd.’s Kanakkupillai.com web portal, headquartered in Chennai.
You can effectively register your trademark in India with the aid of their experts there to protect your unique identity.
Based on our discussion, we anticipate this blog will be useful to all curious readers who want to learn the fundamentals of conducting a trademark search and how to perform one.
FAQs on Trademark Search
Any step conducted to ascertain whether or not a trademark is being utilised in commerce is referred to as a “trademark search.” Trademark searches can be specific in their focus or cover all potential sources of trademark protection for any mark that even slightly resembles the mark that is the subject of the search.
Before a firm starts using its trademark or makes an application to have it registered, it can be helpful to ascertain whether there are any legal obstacles to its use or registration. A trademark can be a corporate business name, brand name, slogan, or logo.
Individuals, startups, and small businesses must pay Rs. 4500 or Rs. 9000 per mark and per class, respectively. Depending on the service provider, professional pricing may change.
When applying for the registration of a trademark or label without conducting any kind of trademark research, the applicant runs the risk of incurring significant legal fees and having to spend a lot of time and effort resolving any conflicts that may arise.
A trademark registration typically takes between 18 and 24 months in an accessible setting without any opposition or objections. In any case, the applicant will complete the trademark registration procedure within a month of receiving the trademark certificate.
The Indian trademark database offers three different kinds of trademark searches:
A word search using word marks, a phonetic search to look for words with similar phonetic sounds, and a Vienna Code search for comparable artistic designs are all examples of word searches.
A good trademark search report will let you know if you’re free to start registering your trademarks. But remember that no search can ensure correctness, no matter how extensive. This entire process can be streamlined and made more reasonably priced in the long run by working with an experienced trademark lawyer.
You can still execute a trademark search if you are unaware of the trademark class. To choose the appropriate trademark class among more than 80,000 products and services, utilise the trademark class discovery tool. 34 of the 45 classes are under the “goods” category, while 11 falls under “services.”
You can save money, time, resources, and effort by learning this information before submitting your trademark application, and you can also avoid potential legal trouble. The repercussions could be serious if you don’t execute a sufficiently thorough trademark search. You might overlook trademarks that can be confused with your proposed mark. In the worst instance, a third party with senior rights to the trademark may sue you for infringement. Without legal advice from a skilled trademark attorney, you risk subjecting your business to pointless litigation.
On Kanakkupillai.com, you can use the search engine for free online trademark searches. Contact their experts as soon as possible for additional advice on the subject. On the Indian trademark database link, one can also conduct an online trademark search on the Trademark Registry.