When companies develop new brands, concentration is often focused on the effectiveness of the new brand in a marketing sense. Little thought is given to searching to make sure that the new trade mark does not pose a legal risk to the business. For example, some companies believe that simply having a website domain name registration in place means that they have the unassailable right to use that domain name as a trade mark. This is not the case.

In order to reduce the legal risk involved in launching a new brand, it is often advisable to conduct some trade mark clearance searching. Such searching aims to identify trade mark risks levels associated with the new brand. In the event that problems (i.e. prior identical or similar trade mark rights) are identified, then spotting these problems at an early stage will enable companies to try and plot their way around problem trade marks (whether by modifying their new brand or by choosing an entirely new trade mark).

Often the results of the trade mark search show that the risk is small enough to merit proceeding without any modification. However, without any trade mark searching, senior management will not be able to make effective decisions based on an informed risk assessment.

Costs for trade mark clearance searches start at a few hundred pounds (for a simple search, for one trade mark). Although, some companies choose to spend more. Once a company has cleared and settled on a new brand, then action can also be taken to protect your rights in this brand.

If you have a new brand and wish to explore carrying out a trade mark clearance search, please do get in contact.