Trademark Clearance Searching
Without doing clearance searching we cannot know if use of a mark is likely to be held to infringe any existing trademark registrations or common law rights.
Furthermore, in many territories, trademark applications will be rejected on the basis of earlier trademarks that the relevant Trade Mark Registry considers to be conflicting.
Also, in general, trademark applications/registrations may be opposed/invalidated on the basis of conflicting earlier rights (registered or unregistered).
Thus trademark clearance searching can be used to determine whether or not a mark is free for use/registration in the territories of interest.
It should be noted that some trademark owners independently monitor applications that are filed to see if they conflict with their own registrations. If the clearance search reveals that there are potentially conflicting registrations then you could choose not to file an application. This would mean that the proposed or ongoing use of the mark will not be brought to the attention of the owner(s) of those existing registrations as a result of the filed application.
If you have been using a mark and are unwittingly infringing a trademark registration then you could be forced to stop using the mark and have damages or an account of profits awarded against you.
Thus, if you are already using a mark it is always sensible to perform a clearance search before filing any application.
For more information on UK and overseas trademark clearance searching please follow the below links:
Contact us for a free consultation or for more information on trademark clearance searching.