Trademark Search Results – Questions to Ask
It might sound obvious, but trademark searches aren’t worth anything to you unless you can use the results. In this article, we suggest some questions that you can ask before you order a trademark search (whether from us or anybody else).
What databases will the search encompass?
One important thing to ask before you order a trademark search from anybody is: what databases will the search cover? You should ensure that the search covers the appropriate databases (please see our article on searching in the right places for trademarks).
What countries will the search cover?
Most Australian businesses are primarily concerned with searching in Australia, but if you're considering exporting to other countries, then you should make sure that the searches cover the correct jurisdictions.
Will the results be reported to me in writing?
Remember, opinions and information always carry more weight when expressed in writing. While you would always hope that you’ll get well-considered advice or information whenever you pay for it, this is not always the case. You’ll find it much easier to hold the opinion giver accountable afterwards, and consequently, they’ll be forced to think much more carefully about what they tell you.
Will the report interpret the results?
Trademark law can be tricky, and it’s not immediately obvious to a lay person what particular results actually mean. Imagine that you want to trademark the name ‘Flamba’ for hats, and your search has turned up a company that already uses ‘Flamber’ in relation to sunscreens. What does this mean? Will you be infringing their trademark if you use ‘Flamba’? Would the ‘Flamber’ people be able to prevent you from having your trademark registered?
Make sure that your results include a legal opinion by a properly qualified person as to what they mean.
Some search services are really designed to be used by lawyers and trademark attorneys rather than lay people. If you aren’t that familiar with trademark law, make sure you’re not ordering one of these searches.
How much will the search cost?
Searches range in cost from free but can go into the thousands of dollars, especially if multiple databases are searched in multiple countries. Aside from the obvious point that you should know what a serivce costs before you proceed, you should remember that the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ usually applies here.