Picture this - you’ve finally decided on a name for your new business after months of deliberation and contemplation. You’ve even got your brand logo designed, and you can’t wait to show your creation to the world!
Just one problem, you haven’t checked if your trademark is still available. Everything can come to naught if you end up infringing upon another company’s intellectual property, even if you didn’t intend to.
Hence, before finalizing your business’s name, check and be sure that it is not already taken by any other business. This is where a trademark availability search comes in.
Failure to take this step early in the process can have several legal and financial repercussions for your business. We’re sure you want to avoid both. With this in mind, let’s find out more about trademark availability and trademark availability searches.
What Is Trademark Availability?
Trademarks refer to any design or expression that a business may use to represent itself. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as a “word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.”
Broadly speaking, a trademark helps a business distinguish itself from its competitors, while also protecting it from lawsuits. Trademarks are intellectual property and need to be registered with the USPTO. Once this is done, the owners of trademarks get exclusive rights to use them. They’re also protected from other entities using the mark for their own benefit.
Trademark availability is the process of determining if a desired trademark is actually unique, authentic, and not already in use by another party. A thorough search is conducted to identify and reveal potential overlaps with trademarks that already exist.
Ascertaining trademark availability is vital for businesses as it can help protect their brand identity, deter infringement, and ensure adherence to legal compliance. Of course, before a brand can receive a trademark, it needs to take certain necessary steps. The first step is performing a trademark availability search.
Meaning of Trademark Availability Search
A trademark availability search is conducted prior to registering a trademark to ensure that your desired trademark is unique and original enough that it's not infringing on anything. A comprehensive trademark availability search can help your business minimize risks by confirming that your name, design, or symbol isn’t already in use by another commercial entity.
A detailed trademark availability search can ensure that your trademark registration process proceeds without any hiccups. It can also safeguard you from legal action by other businesses for infringing on their intellectual property, even if it is unintentional.
In Ohio, failure to conduct a trademark availability search can lead to significant consequences. These include unintentional trademark infringement, legal disputes, loss of brand reputation, financial penalties, and the need for rebranding.
What You Need to Know About Conducting Trademark Availability Searches
Keep in mind that conducting a thorough trademark availability search requires a broad search that includes common law trademarks and online sources. You should seek legal guidance from a trademark lawyer to ensure a comprehensive search and proper evaluation of the search results.
Based on the search results and your trademark attorney’s advice, you can determine whether your desired trademark is available for registration or if modifications are necessary to avoid potential conflicts.
Remember, while conducting a trademark availability search can provide valuable information, it does not guarantee that your desired trademark is entirely free from any conflicts. Consulting with a lawyer is highly recommended to navigate the complex legal aspects of trademark availability, registration, and protection.
Consult Emerson Thomson Bennett, LLC for Your Trademark Needs
Performing a trademark availability search is key to protecting your brand and avoiding potential legal issues. A trademark lawyer can help by performing comprehensive searches, evaluating results, and providing prudent guidance. They’ll ensure a thorough assessment and help you navigate the complex world of trademarks, minimizing risks for your business.
If you need legal assistance with getting your trademark right, the team at Emerson Thomson Bennett, LLC is here for you. Our trademark litigation practice focuses on the protection of our client’s intellectual property rights and includes patents, trademarks, trade secrets, unfair competition, copyrights, and Internet and domain name disputes. Call 330-434-9999 or fill out our online form to get in touch.