Before investing time, money and effort to start using a trademark, it is critical to see if your mark may conflict with the marks of others. These conflicts could lead to claims of trademark infringement, and to the refusal of the trademark office of the country in which the application is filed to issue a registration.
The obvious conflict situation is where the marks are identical. However, no search should stop there. Conflicts arise when the proposed mark is likely to cause confusion regarding the source of the goods or services. For example, the goods or services do not need to be identical, only related. Nor do the marks need to be identical—just sufficiently close to lead to a likelihood of confusion.
The legal test to determine the likelihood of confusion is the subject of hundreds, if not thousands, of court opinions. The test is continually evolving and highly nuanced. Thus, need for a thorough trademark search which takes all of the relevant factors into account is a critical step in deciding whether to use the proposed trademark.
We offer comprehensive searches which include strategies specifically tailored to the proposed mark and the associated goods and services. The searches include not only the mark itself, but also phonetic equivalents, misspellings, and other variations designed to provide the most useful results. Searches include the United States Patent and Trademark Office databases and Internet searches. In some cases, searches include research in over 100 countries using an outside service specializing in international searches. After the results are evaluated, the client receives a detailed report with recommendations on whether to use the proposed mark.