Trademark Searches & Trademark Clearance Searches In India
Prior to filing a trademark application is it advisable to conduct a trademark search in India to determine if similar marks are already filed or registered or not to ascertain use and registrability of the proposed trademark.
Preliminary Search of trademarks or trademark public search prior to filing application for registration of a trademark is advisable, in order to ascertain if any third party has filed an identical or similar trademark in respect of similar class or goods and services for which one intends to file, is advisable on the Indian Trademark Registry’s Website at: www.ipindia.nic.in. Thus, a trademark search online can be conducted at the Registry’s website here.
Why is Trademark Search advisable?
1. Trademark Search will determine the existence of objectionable marks already on the Register as well as the application for similar marks pending for registration. Such objectionable marks would include –
- Identical marks;
- Marks which are visually, confusingly, phonetically or deceptively similar to the proposed mark
2. Preliminary Search may eliminate the possibility of following objections or actions against the mark in future:
– Objections from Registry
– Suit for Infringement
– Opposition proceedings
3. Trademark search will determine the relevant strength of the mark in the requisite market. If the mark is a weak one then same can be changed or altered and if it is a good one then it can be retained.
Trademark searches in India can be conducted for word mark, numerals, labels and device marks Trademark Search can be classified into the following categories:
a) Word Search
b) Device Search
Word mark search is conducted to determine similar, deceptively similar or phonetically similar prior marks. Word mark search can be conducted in respect of desired specification of goods and services falling under classes 1 to 45 as per the international classification of goods and services under Nice Classification.
Device Mark Search:
Device mark or a figurative trademark includes marks such as stylized letter, shapes, logos plants, celestial bodies, living creatures etc. A device mark search can be conducted in respect of desired specification of goods or services as per the Trademarks consisting of figurative elements, are codified as per International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (commonly referred to as ‘Vienna Codification’).
Apart from conducting Word mark search and Device mark search, Internet search of the proposed mark is also conducted. Internet search is conducted with the object to determine the use of any similar or deceptively similar unregistered mark by a third party.
Thus, a comprehensive trademark search apart from reporting similar or deceptively trademarks in the Register of Trademarks will also analyse any third party use of a similar mark. Based on the search report, advise is given about the chances of successful registration of the trademark in India.
It will also be relevant to mention here that a well-known trademark in India is protected in all classes i.e. also with respect to unrelated goods and services.
A plethora of trademark cases are based on issues pertaining to identical or deceptively similar marks. In order to avoid such objections and oppositions at a later stage, a proprietor shall always conduct a trademark search. This will avoid any delays, obstacles in trademark registration and will also save money which goes into resolution of such objections and oppositions.