Formulating a Full Trademark Search Strategy


Much of the success of your trademark search depends on the trademark search strategy you employed during the process. A minuscule error can make your all exercise futile and thus it is important to formulate an effective and full trademark search strategy that can give you the desired result.

This article is aimed at underlining some trademark search strategies which will be of immense help.

full tm search

Steps of Formulating a Full Trademark Search Strategy

Exact match search– Exact match search is the best strategy that should be executed right at the beginning of doing a full trademark search. With this, we find marks that are exactly similar to our intended mark.

Deceptively similar marks Search- While considering the likelihood of getting a trademark approved merely searching similar marks is not enough; rather there are deceptive similar marks those should also be searched. For example, if you are intending to trademark the term “STYLEWORKS” we need to ensure that marks like STYLEWORKX, STYLEWRKS are not registered.

Vowel replacement searches- As we mentioned earlier those deceptively similar marks do exist and it is important to search those terms before we file a trademark application. With vowel replacement searches we can find those terms those are not identical but are similar.

Any character replacement search- Any character replacement search is another important search which should be employed while doing a complete trademark search. With this search, we can find even those similar terms which are created by altering a character.

Operator Search- Operator search is another important trademark search strategy that should be employed when intending for an effective trademark search. With this, we search two different terms using various operators like AND, OR, NOT, XOR, SAME, WITH, NEAR and ADJ.

Common law search- In a jurisdiction like the United States, trademark is given on first-use basis wherein trademark rights are conferred even if someone has simply used it. So to avail the benefits of trademarks, federal registration is not mandatory. This is why we need to do common law searches wherein various business directories, financial documents, domain name registries, white papers and news outlets are searched.

Phonetic search- Phonetic search is another important search strategy that is employed by trademark search experts while doing a full trademark search. Phonetic equivalents are words that sound-alike creating the possibility of confusion between the two words (for example ‘CAT’ and ‘KAT’). Phonetic equivalents are important because they indicate how an existing mark may be perceived by a consumer as, too similar to your proposed mark. If phonetically equivalent marks exist in the same industry there is a strong possibility of consumer confusion and the proposed mark may be rejected.

We must agree that this is not the end of the story and there might be plenty of other strategies we can employ but the above mentioned are some of the common trademark search strategies we employ while doing U.S. Trademark Search.


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