Merely registering a trademark is not enough to protect a brand; rather, it should be monitored throughout the year and round the clock to ensure that your valuable marks are protected and enforced. This is where the importance of trademark watching comes into, wherein we keep a vigilant eye on the domain to ensure our brands are not used unlawfully. Simply put, trademark watching services are an important tool in the proactive monitoring of registered marks and related intellectual properties.
Though trademark watching is not mandatory still it has become a necessity in an era when every now and then you can find a trademark lawsuit being filed. As a professional business entity we need to keep on monitoring trademarks for any kind of abuse so that you get the real worth of your trademark.
How to Put an Effective Trademark Watching Process in Place
Trademark watching is a comprehensive process where we can implement many activities that can track down unlawful use of our brands still there are some which are of most importance and are mentioned below:
Searching the global database: Apart from various regional trademark search databases, there are some which are recognized globally and these offers plenty of rooms for trademark search firms to conduct an effective trademark search. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of them and should you are intending to monitor trademarks this could be the first place to be looked upon.
With a user-friendly interface, this database offers plenty of scopes for trademark search professionals like we can execute trademark search on the basis of brand, name, numbers, date, class, and country. Apart from these, we can also search by “Text”, Image Classes and/or Goods (all).
The below-mentioned image could describe them in detail:
Apart from the above-mentioned search parameters we can also use various “Filters” those are available in the database. Some of the important filters those we can use here are:
Source- According to the office providing the data
Image- Rank images by their visual similarity to an image that you provide
Status- The current status of the record
Origin-The office of origin of the record
App. Year- The application year listed for the record
Expiration-The expiration date of the record
The below-depicted image could reveal those filters used in WIPO Trademark Search Database:
Watching Trademarks with U.S. PTO Database:
Assuming the fact, that you have a business that is operating from the jurisdiction of the United States, Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) can be the best trademark search database to go for. With this database, we can search the USPTO’s records of pending and registered trademarks to find similar, closely similar, or exact similar marks that may have an impact on your brand reputation.
The USPTO’s database contains records of registered trademarks and prior pending applications that are relevant to you. In case you are not much familiar with this database and want to know how to perform a trademark search, read our article titled “Understanding Various Features of USPTO Trademark Search Database” with this link.
The TESS database also offers plenty of scopes for trademark search specialists to do an effective and full trademark search.
Using Search Engines for Trademark Watching: There are many occasions when trademark owners don’t register their marks with the federal agency like the U.S. PTO and thus these data can’t be pulled through these databases and here we need to use various search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, DuckDuckGo and AOL to find these obscured data.
With this process, we can create a set of keywords, put it in a search box of search engines and then check manually, if someone is abusing our trademarks. With this search, we are simply expanding our search scope and looking in at the cyberspace.
Watching Trademarks with Sponsored Ads: Many of you may be aware that we run sponsored ads on various search engines like Google to increase our sales, however, the same platform can be used to trick your trademark. In these cases competitors bid on your trademark as a keyword and consequently when a user clicks on the sponsored ad intending to buy your product, they land up on a site that is not yours.
To avoid such fraudulent activities trademark owners need to ensure that a search of their trademark should not bring up competitor’s sponsored ads. If it is happening, it means that your competitors are bidding on your trademark as a keyword and you have every right to block such sponsored ads.
Scanning HTML codes of competitor websites for unlawful use of trademarks- It is amazing but true that your competitors can use your trademark in their HTML codes to rank for keywords and phrases which you own. Thus, it’s important for trademark owners to keep a vigilant eye on the HTML codes of competitor websites. This can also be an effective trademark watching mechanism.
All we can say is that trademark watching should be a regular activity that every brand should implement these days. Since the burden of trademark watching lies on the part of trademark owners, it is important to monitor their trademarks continuously.