How to Conduct a Trademark Search in UK?

Anyone who plan to register a trademark in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland have this question, how do I check if a trademark is registered in the UK? The answer is simple, perform a UK trademark search.

How do trademarks work in the UK?

A trademark is a symbol that enables the customers to identify a brand’s products or services in the crowd. E.g., consumers immediately recognize the logo of Pepsi, Dominos, and Starbucks. In most cases, they don’t know about the brand’s owner identity. Thus, a company’s trademark plays a vital role to build its reputation in the market. If a mark is properly advertised, marketed, and promoted; it can be a great factor for the brand’s success story.

In the United Kingdom, the trademarks are covered under The Trade Marks Act 1994. You can register your trademark with UK Intellectual Property Office, or IPO. Under the law, trademark registration provides the trademark owner or the proprietor the exclusive rights for using the mark. Moreover, the trademark owner also gets the right to stop someone who is using a confusingly similar mark for the same kind of goods and services.  Additionally, under some conditions, the proprietor can stop others from using a confusingly similar mark even for dissimilar goods and services.

Why should I conduct a UK trademark search?

To spare your company the legal complications due to trademark infringement, it is important to conduct a trademark search beforehand.

If you are planning to start a company or business in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Scotland; you must register your trademark. However, most businesses directly file their trademark at UK Intellectual Property Office without searching for similar marks in the industry. So, the first step in the trademark registration process is conducting a UK trademark search.

Why Conduct a Search Before Filing for a UK Trademark Registration?

Here are two common case situations to understand why a trademark search is important.

  1. Imagine a situation where you have a brilliant trademark idea that you want to register. You file your trademark application at the IPO and pay the fee. Later, IPO rejects your proposed mark because someone else already has a similar trademark. Well, what could have been the alternative to save the hassle and fee? The answer is a trademark search.
  2. Now imagine another case, you have a trademark idea that you want to register. Before going ahead with the trademark filing, you conduct s UK trademark search to be sure of any infringement. Now, if you find a confusingly similar mark, you have the option to tweak your proposed mark and make the necessary changes.

Therefore, every industry has millions of trademarks used by millions of companies that offer various products and services. When you plan to register a trademark, there are chances that your intended mark may be similar to an already existing trademark. Here, a trademark search becomes crucial as it determines whether or not some other business is already using a similar mark.

Does IPO Approve Confusingly Similar Trademarks?

Yes, unlike USPTO, IPO sometimes give an initial approval to such marks. But, the IPO examiner who reviews your trademark will send a notification to the owners of similar marks about your application. Now it is up to the owner either to allow registration or file an opposition with the IPO.  If the trademark owner files an opposition, the further process will be lengthy demanding evidence to prove dissimilarity. In most cases, the registration of the proposed trademark is denied by the examiner. So, one sure-shot way to avoid this is to conduct a comprehensive trademark search.

How to Perform a Trademark Search in the UK

There are two ways of conducting a trademark search in the UK:

Using UK Trademark Database

On the IPO website, you will find UK Trademark Database that allows you to search for similar marks by various means.  

  • To check the status of a specific pending trademark application, consider searching by a trademark owner’s name or trademark number.
  • For an overall comprehensive search, choose searching by keyword, phrase, or image option.
  • You can also select if you want to search just by a word, image, or a combination of both. Searching for exact as well as similar matches is the best option to be extra sure.
  • If you choose to conduct a trademark image search, the search tool will ask you to describe the image through drop-downs.
  • Moreover, you can further narrow down the results by choosing specific trademark classes, registration period, and status of the mark.

Hiring a Trademark Law Firm

Most people have the question, can I conduct a trademark search on my own? The answer is yes, but the search that a beginner with no knowledge of intellectual property may be incomplete. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should hire a trademark law firm for a trademark search:

  • The UK Trademark database does not cover all the conflicting trademarks. Excluding the conflicting marks during free trademark search can cause opposition during the trademark examination process.
  • A trademark image search process is complex and time-consuming. You may end up missing some confusingly similar image marks.
  • A trademark law firm has the required experience, team, and tools to ensure no trademark is left out.
  • The law firms have extensive knowledge of trademark laws and procedures. Additionally, they will also help you to decide what changes can be made in your mark to avoid any opposition.
  • After the search is conducted, you will also get assistance in the drafting of your trademark application and further the UK trademark registration process.

Why Choose TMReady for Conducting UK Trademark Search?

TMReady is invariably the best solution for your trademark needs. Whether you are new to trademarks or have experience, understanding the know-how of intellectual property is tough. But you don’t need to worry as TMready provides trademark solutions in the USA, UK, China, Japan, Canada, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Our solutions range from trademark search, trademark monitoring, trademark registration, paralegals, and many more. But that’s not it, we also provide a multi-country trademark search option for international trademark search.

     TMReady believes in providing the best results at the most reasonable price.  Our experienced team and advanced tools with effective trademark search strategies make us the best choice for all your trademark needs. You can also check our clients’ testimonials and sample search reports to check the quality of our services. Have more doubts? Visit us to get your answers

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