Trademark Variation Searches: Everything You Need to Know

A trademark (mark) search is a crucial first step before applying for mark protection in a specific jurisdiction. Moreover, carrying out exhaustive searches helps in ensuring that the proposed mark is not already in use by another entity. Further, among the various types of trademark searches, trademark variation searches are one of the most important ones.

Read this article to know everything about trademark variation searches as well as the top reasons why you should perform them for a word mark.

Also Read: How to Conduct Global Trademark Registration and Monitoring Cost-effectively

What is a Variation?

Before discussing trademark variation searches, let us first understand the method of variation. In the case of word marks, a variation may or may not be visually similar, however it might sound the same. Here are a few examples of variation in words:

  1. One can search for fusion as fuzion, phusion, phuzion, etc.
  2. Similarly, one can search real as Reyal, Reial, Riyal, etc.
  3. Moreover, you an also search for curiosity as Kuriocity, Quriocity, etc.

However, you are wondering why identifying variations are important in word mark searches. Thus, you must note that if two-word marks sound similar, it creates confusion among people. Besides, it might lead to marks as well as market infringement.

Also Read: Before Filing a Trademark Application: Points to Consider

Trademark Variation Searches – Importance

A variation search refers to the process of searching phonetically similar and similar-sounding words related to your word mark. Further, below are the three reasons why variation searches are a crucial part of trademark searches.

Determines the Likelihood of Confusion

Even slight variations in a word mark can confuse the customers. For instance, a competitor may change the spelling of a pre-existing word mark and use it. Moreover, this kind of variation might confuse the customer and he/she may not be able to distinguish between a new line of goods & services from the goods & services of an established brand.

Prevents Trademark Infringement

Individuals and businesses can use trademark variation searches to see if they are infringing on an already registered trademark. Therefore, any entity can avoid infringing on another entity’s word mark by ascertaining the likelihood of infringement early on.

Saves Costs and Time

Besides preventing word mark infringement, variation searches can also help individuals or entities to save money and time. This is because if any entity identifies a word mark similar to their proposed mark at an early stage, it can drop that mark and save time and costs associated with trademark prosecution.

Also Read: How to Perform a TESS Trademark Search?

Trademark Variation Searches – Variations of a Word Mark

We, at TMReady, make two kinds of variations of word marks – phonetic and similar-sounding variations. Let us briefly discuss how we make these two types of variations.

Phonetic variations

We make phonetic variations of a word mark by changing one or two letters in it. This means that we change the suffix or prefix of the word mark with a similar sounding letter. For example:

Prefix — WR = R (Example: Right = Wright)
Prefix — PH = F (Example: Foto = Photo)

Suffix — ER = R (Example: Runnr = Runner)
Suffix — GH = H (Example: Tag = Tagh)

Similar-sounding variations

You can categorize similar sounding variations into two types – silent words and similar-sounding words.

Silent words

Some letters in a word can be silent, i.e., you must not pronounce them. Moreover, to understand the variations that can be made for such words, let us consider the word knock (from the table below). Thus, the silent variations for this word can be knoock and noock.

Silent LetterActual word with Silent Letter
P is silenced when it precedes the letter ‘s’Psychology, psychiatry, psyche, psychological, psychotic, pseudo.
K is silenced when it precedes the letter ‘n’Knock, knack, knapsack, knickers, knuckle.
Table 1: Trademark Variation Searches – Silent Words

Similar-sounding words

Some words sound similar but differ in their spellings and meanings. Moreover, to understand the variations one can make for such words, let us consider the word “To” (from the table below). The similar-sounding variations for this word are “Too” and “Two”.

Similar-Sounding Variations
ToToo, Two
Table 2: Trademark Variation Searches – Similar Sounding Variations

Also Read: Hire a Trademark Attorney: What’s the Need?

Conducting Trademark Variation Searches? – Choose TMReady!

So, performing trademark variation searches before registering for a mark is a common practice among companies. Moreover, out of the various types of trademark searches, variation searches are one of the most important ones. Besides, these searches not only help companies to save costs but also prevent mark infringement. Further, it can be a little tricky to perform these searches, thus, it is advisable to seek professional assistance and avoid missing out on any variation of a word mark. Hence, TMReady’s Trademark Search service provides useful insights to clients before they file for marks. Further, product-driven organizations also carry out mark searches before launching their products in new markets. Click here to know more about this service.

– Inderpal Singh Chowdhari (Sr. Trademark Analyst) and the Editorial Team

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