How do I search international trademarks?
If you are looking to expand your business internationally or you are planning for that in the future, it is a good idea to trademark your business name at an international level.
Before doing so, it is necessary to complete a trademark search to assess the likelihood that your application will succeed. It is also important to make sure you are not infringing on another company’s intellectual property rights. Determining whether you can trademark internationally may impact your decision to stick with your name or logo even on a national level.
Here is how to conduct an international trademark search.
WIPO Global Brand Database
The best place to start an international trademark search is the Global Brand Database found on the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) website.
The Global Brand Database is a free service and provides access to registered trademarks across 40 databases, including those registered through the WIPO’s Madrid System.
If there is a particular region or country you are interested in which is not covered in the Global Brand Database, you will need to search the trademark register of that country/region. It may also be worth double checking the country/regional databases of particular areas you are interested in as the Global Brand Database does not include trademarks filed directly with particular countries (as opposed to through the Madrid System).
The WIPO maintains a database of information on parties of the Madrid System called the Madrid Member Profiles which can be a helpful resource to access their databases and their practices/procedures.
What if I find a similar or identical trademark?
The first thing to work out when you come across a similar or identical trademark is whether it is for the same or related goods/services and whether it is a live or expired application or registration. The answers to these questions will affect whether you proceed with the original application or whether you consider making changes to your trademark.
Performing an international trademark search is a crucial part of the trademark application process. If you are looking to trademark internationally, whether through the Madrid System or directly with particular countries/regions, it is important to search international databases to assess the likely success of your application.
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