Trademark Clearance Search Process
A clearance search is something a trademark attorney can help you with before you begin using a brand or product name in your business. After completing the Trademark Questionnaire, a form provided to clients that is used to collect information on your prospective trademark, Attorney Yasmine Salem Hamdan uses a number of resources to find out if your trademark is likely to be registered with the USPTO (U.S. Patent & Trademark Office) & whether you’d be at risk of infringing on another business owner’s intellectual property rights.
After completing the thorough search, clients receive an opinion letter, outlining any other marks that pose as a risk to the client’s mark, & a recommendation from your attorney as to moving forward with the trademark use/application or not.
I searched for my brand/product name on Google! Is that good enough?
Some clients move forward with use of a brand or product name after completing only a Google search. While Google can be a useful tool in many general searches, trademark clearance & potential infringement is not one of them.
What happens next?
Depending on the results of the clearance search, the client then decides whether he or she would like to move forward with the USPTO trademark application. At this point, if it appears that there may be possibility of infringement, clients may decide to change their trademark in order to successfully obtain trademark protection.
Oops.. I’ve already started using my trademark. Am I in trouble?
Hopefully not! But before you become too invested in the trademark (logo design, domain name, signage, uniforms, product labels, promotional items, etc.) or get hit with infringement allegations, get in touch with a trademark lawyer that can help you through the clearance & USPTO registration process ASAP.
A trademark lawyer can help you to avoid infringing on another’s mark, which at the very least, can result in a forced re-branding of your company. At worst, can result in infringement allegations and a time-consuming (& expensive) lawsuit.
Not filing your application for trademark protection may leave you open to the infringement of others on your intellectual property. Your trademark can be one of your business’ most valuable proprietary assets. Going about it the right way (FYI: there are no shortcuts) can lay a solid legal foundation upon which you build your business.
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice or if you would like to schedule a Business Audit & Strategy Session with our office in order to best protect yourself & your business, you can reach Yasmine directly at (512) 925-7882.