If you’re thinking about filing for a trademark within the United Kingdom, it’s important to understand how a UK trademark search works.
Usually, it is conducted with the help of a professional trademark attorney or researcher. However, you can also conduct a trademark search independently using various UK databases.
This guide will help you understand how a UK trademark search works and the best route for your business to obtain a trademark.
Let’s get into it.
What Is A Trademark?
Before we dive into a trademark search, it is important to understand what a trademark is and how it can be distinguished from other types of intellectual property.
A trademark is a form of intellectual property (IP) that identifies a service or product as belonging to a specific company or individual. In the United Kingdom, a trademark is defined as:
“Any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.”
Overall, a trademark is a thing which represents and encapsulates what your business is. A specific set of identifiers makes your brand recognisable to your target consumers. A trademark can be:
- A word
- A logo
- A slogan
- A design/set of designs
Or, a combination of these elements. They are typically registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to provide legal protection against infringement by other businesses.
Why Do You Need A Trademark?
Most businesses will require trademarks as they give you exclusive rights to your branding and brand representations. This is important as it creates a personality for your brand, allowing customers to identify with the product.
Once a trademark is registered, the business owner will have the legal rights to use the mark in connection with the services or products it is registered for. This means that no other business can use the same or similar trademark in a way that could confuse consumers.
What Is Trademark Searching?
Trademark searching is the process of researching to find out whether your proposed trademark is available for use and registration.
It is a part of the application process which ensures that two very similar trademarks aren’t filed at the same time and that nobody tries to file an existing trademark as their own.
How Do You Search For A UK Trademark?
There are a few different ways that you can go about conducting a trademark search in the UK. There are three main routes, including:
- UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Website: The IPO has a free online tool called the ‘Trade Marks Check’, which allows people to search the UK trademark database for trademarks (both registered and pending registration). This tool allows you to search for similar patents by keywords, wonder names, business names, trademark numbers, or images. This is the most common way for smaller and independent enterprises to explore trademark options and availability.
- Professional Trademark Search Services: A professional trademark search service can provide a more comprehensive search and report of the UK database, detailing specific conflicts and how to avoid them moving forward. This is an excellent way to ensure that your application is managed by someone who understands the ins and outs of IP law.
- Trademark Attorneys: A professional search may interest you for larger companies and those that can afford external legal help and advice. A trademark attorney can help handle all aspects of your trademark application, including any legal disputes that may arise if a patent like yours emerges. This can be the best way to secure your trademark’s success and future. However, it is the most expensive of the three core options available.
Which of these options you choose will come down to a few factors, such as cost and time management. All are valid options, but getting the help of a professional can help to streamline your application and create a better
What Happens After Your Trademark Search?
Once you have completed your trademark search, the next steps depend on the search results.
If your search has yet to turn up any results, this will mean that your trademark is available and not already registered. You can then submit your trademark application to the appropriate government agency (in the UK, this is the IPO), along with your fees and documentation.
The trademark application will then undergo its assessment by the trademark office to decide if it meets the requirements for registration.
We hope this article has helped inform you about how a UK trademark search works.
A trademark search is in place to help ensure your intellectual property, alongside other Trademarks, remain protected so your business can thrive in its chosen market – becoming instantly recognisable with consumers.
A trademark is an important tool for marketing and representing your business, and a trademark search is a crucial part of ensuring you get a strong degree of protection when you file your intellectual property.
We wish you the best of luck filing your UK trademark!