The first and best brand protection comes from choosing wisely your new trademark wisely in the first place, with the help of a trademark clearance analysis. Before launching and building a new brand, it is very important to investigate whether the name, tagline, or logo can actually be used and defended. Spending significant time and money on a brand you will not be able to keep can be a disaster.
A trademark clearance search and analysis memo will answer two main questions:
1. Is the mark available for use?
2. Are you likely to be able to build and defend the mark from others over time?
The Search Report and the Analysis Memo
A typical trademark clearance analysis has two parts: the search report and the clearance analysis memo from your lawyer. The search report will give you the overall view of the horizon, in a way that using Google or the USPTO.gov database cannot. A trademark lawyer will use the report to get an idea of the risk involved with your use of the proposed mark, and the likely ability to use and defend that brand over time.
A professional search report will show not only letter-for-letter matches, but will also list marks that are similar enough to be considered as potential problems. It will allow you to review all similar federal applications and registrations within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office system, state registrations, similar web site domain names, and other database matches.
The question in all trademark clearance matters is whether likely consumers are likely to be confused by similar marks for similar goods and services. The analysis memo will consider both the similarity of the marks found in the search report to your proposed new brand, and the similarity of the goods and services sold under each of those marks.
Cost of Trademark Clearance
Clients can be hesitant to proceed with professional trademark search and clearance analysis, due to fear of high costs. At Threshold, we offer this service (and many more) on a flat fee basis. Please reach out for a copy of our current rate card, by phone or email using the contact information on this site. For such an important business decision, it is more affordable than most clients expect.
If the clearance analysis is mainly positive, we strongly recommend proceeding with an application to register your mark with the USPTO. As in all business decisions, there is a timing element to consider. The USPTO will take its first action on a new application about three months after it is filed.
Relying on a professional search report and the analysis of a trademark lawyer is the best way to safely select and build a brand that you will be able to keep, build and protect over time.