Thursday 21 February 2013

UK Trademark Searching

As part of their systems upgrade, that was revealed on 11 February, the UK IPO provided a new trade mark search interface .  It is still listed as find by word or image but there are some important developments that make it a whole lot more useful than the previous version. The biggest, and most significant for unrepresented trademark applicants as well as agents seeking to do economical clearance searches, is that there is a new option to search for 'similar' marks. This is now the default and you may be surprised to find that you get pages of hits when you were expecting just a few from an identical word mark search. You can revert to Exact word or Begins with if you are looking for something specific. However the new option ensures you don't miss the vowel changes. There is no information about the particular fuzzy algorithm they are using but it survived my tests, so I am impressed.

You do hit the buffers, though, if your search wants to deliver more than a 1000 hits.

I did a search for FORTY TWO and got 7 hits but 42 gave me 979 but then that's the meaning of life isn't it?

Another change is that instead of offering you spaces for several words that you could AND or OR together, you can type in a bunch of words and choose to have the search for all of them or any of them.

The search will retrieve you any mark protected in the UK and community trademarks and Madrid registrations are displayed in a new format. There is no link direct to CTM online or Romarin, which is frustrating especially when your CTM hit comes up with a status of OPPOSED very tantalising that.

Have fun