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Trademark Search in India: Why It's Important and How to Do It Right

What is a trademark Search?

Trademark search is an extremely important step in the process of registering a trademark/Label in India. It is a crucial process to ensure that the brand you are trying to establish/register is unique, distinct and different from others and also, not already in use by another business. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive trademark search before registering a trademark to avoid potential conflicts (with existing trademarks), legal issues, reputational damage and chances of refusal for registration of the Trademark/Label. In India, the trademark registration process is governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and it is essential to understand the process of conducting a trademark search before filing of a trademark application. In this article, we will delve deeper into trademark search in India and how it works.

Importance of Trademark Search:

Firstly, the purpose of a Trademark search is to minimize the risk of rejection/refusal of a trademark application and avoid any potential conflict that may arise during the process of registration if any trademark/label, which is deceptively similar and/or identical with the proposed trademark, is already in use or registered by another person/company. Failure to do any trademark search before applying for registration of any trademark/label, the applicant can result in bearing hefty legal costs & also, have to go through time consuming process to solve the conflict and/or overcoming the legal issues arises during the process of registration.

Secondly, The Trademark search helps to ensure that a business's brand is unique and distinct from others in the market. This is important for building brand recognition, establishing a strong brand identity, and ensuring that customers can easily identify the business's products or services with the brand name.

Trademark Search in India: How to Conduct a Trademark Search in India?
The first step, in conducting a trademark search is to identify the 'relevant classes' of goods and services under which the trademark/label will be used for. The Trademark Registry classifies goods and services into 45 different classes and it is essential to identify the relevant classes before conducting the search in order to avoid any further litigation before the Ld. Trademark Registry.

The second step is to conduct a preliminary search on the Trademark Registry's online database to check for similar and identical trademarks which is already pending and/or registered before the Ld. Trademark Registry. The 'preliminary search' is a basic search that provides an indication of the availability of the Trademark/Label which can be registered. However, a preliminary search alone is not enough as it does not cover all possible sources of trademark conflicts.

The database of the Trademark Registry contains information on all registered trademarks and pending trademark applications in India.

To conduct a trademark search in India, anyone can follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Visit the Trademark Registry's website at

Step 2: Click on the "Trademarks" tab on the homepage.

Step 3: Click on the "Related Links" and then, choose "Public Search" option.

Step 4: Choose the appropriate search type, either "wordmark" or "Vienna code."

Step 5: Choose the appropriate search parameter, such as "starts with, "contains," or "phonetically similar".

Step 6: Enter the proposed trademark name in the search box.

Step 7: Enter the relevant class number for which mark/label will be applied for.

Step 8: Click on the "Search" button.

The search results will provide information on any trademarks that are already registered or pending in India that are similar to the one being searched for. However, it is important to note that the online search is not foolproof and it's always advisable to engage a trademark attorney or agent to conduct a 'comprehensive search'.

The third step is to conduct a 'comprehensive trademark search' that covers all relevant sources of trademark conflicts. A comprehensive trademark search includes searching sources such as trade directories, domain name registrations, social media platforms, online marketplaces and other databases. It also includes searching for not just identical trademarks but also similar trademarks that may cause confusion with the proposed trademark. The Trademark Registry considers similar trademarks when determining whether to register a trademark. A comprehensive search can help identify potential conflicts before the trademark application process begins.

What to Do With the Search Results?

Once the trademark search is completed, the next step is to analyze the search results to determine whether the proposed trademark is likely to be registered or not.

If the search results indicate that the proposed trademark is likely to conflict with an existing trademark, it is advisable to modify or abandon the proposed trademark before applying for registration. On the other hand, if the search results indicate that the proposed trademark is unique and not infringing on any existing trademark rights, it is safe to proceed with the trademark registration process which starts with filing of trademark application before the concerned Trademark Registry. The application process involves submitting the relevant information, documents and at last, payment of the requisite fees prescribed in the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

The Trademark Registry will then examine the application to ensure that it complies with the necessary requirements as per the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. If there is no objection raised either by the Ld. Trademark Registry and/or by the general public then, the trademark application will be registered and a certificate of registration will be issued.

In conclusion, conducting a comprehensive trademark search is an essential step in the trademark registration process in India. It helps the applicant to avoid any future legal issues, reputational damage, and chances for refusal of the trademark application by the Ld. Trademark Registry. Engaging a trademark attorney or agent can ensure more thorough search and increase the chances of a successful registration of the trademark application. A comprehensive trademark search is an investment in a business's future, as it helps protect their brand identity and adds value to their intellectual property portfolio.

This article is authored by Anil Kumar Sahu, Advocate and Managing Partner, ALL IP CARE & Sourav Kumar (Para Legal).

The content of this article is for educational purpose and is solely intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Professional advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

(Note: It is recommended to engage a trademark attorney or agent to conduct comprehensive trademark search. A trademark attorney or agent has the expertise and experience to conduct a thorough search and identify potential conflicts that may not be apparent to an untrained eye. A trademark attorney or agent can also provide advice on the registrability of the trademark and the likelihood of success in the registration process.)

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