How Do You Know If A Name Is Trademarked?

How Do You Know If A Name Is Trademarked?

After months and months of brainstorming, you and your team have settled on the perfect name for your business. Everyone is full steam ahead on using it — on merchandise, on storefront displays, as the official Instagram handle… in short, everything relating to your business. But wait, does that sound too good to be true? 

Indeed, it is. Instead of new customers, you may expect someone else’s lawyer sliding into your DMs claiming that you’ve infringed on their (legally registered) trademarks. 

Businesses must not ignore the possibility that their chosen name might exist in the marketplace already, meaning the legal rights to that particular name belong to a third party. Any name deemed same or too similar will come under scrutiny in trademark law and legal action can be taken against the offending business.

Avoid the trouble of a mandatory name change and payment of monetary damages by choosing the right name for your business. This is how you can do so. 

Conduct A Trademark Search

The first step to trademark registration isn’t making the application itself, but to first of all conduct a trademark search on existing trademarks. There is no better way to tell if the name you’ve chosen for your business is available for registration than to scope out your competitors. 

A thorough search will give you a concrete idea of the trademarks that are currently active or in use, as well as trademarks that have expired or not in use. Determining this will bring you one step forward in the process of your trademark journey as collected data will help you decide if you should stick to your original choice, modify the name or change it completely. 

Discovering trademarks similar to yours is the most important step for a successful trademark search as this provides you with the tools necessary to move forward in your application. 

How Do I Conduct A Trademark Search? 

In Malaysia, you may conduct a trademark search online via the official portal of Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (link here). Any member of the general public may use the portal for free, and are encouraged to do so before trademark registration to prevent potential losses of time, money and effort should an application fail due to similar marks. 

While searching for direct trademarks is easy, the process can become complicated depending on the nature of your chosen mark. Spelling variations, design similarities, phonetic closeness, determining the correct classification of goods and services under a mark are examples of challenging situations one may find themselves in when conducting a trademark search. 

A trademark search conducted by a professional will provide thorough and accurate results which will give you a higher chance of succeeding at your trademark application. Correct information the first time round will decrease the potential of repeat applications or worse, registering a mark leading to an infringement case. Consult a trademark professional to discuss your options prior to investing too quickly in your chosen trademark for the best outcome.

We are proud of 29 years of professional experience in all areas Intellectual Property. Get in touch for a free consultation today on trademark searches and more.

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