Posted by Chris Bray:
You’ve designed a great product, you’ve got the financing in place to begin marketing your invention and you have come up with a highly original brand name that reflects your creation impeccably. Although before you fervently embark on the exciting task of getting your brand into the public eye, you’ll need to check whether the brand name you propose is already registered.
Not only will having a wholly unique brand name that is not merely a variation on a squillion of other products, help make your brand recognisable, easily remembered and reach a statement-imposing status, but it will also help avoid the time and money wasting headache of having to re-name your brand should you later find out that the name has already been taken.
Trademarks that encroach on another brand’s identity run the risk of a brand being the subject to possible legal action for trademark infringement and it is therefore all but imperative that you execute adequate research to check whether a brand name is registered.
To help you ensure that your proposed brand name is 100 per cent original, take a look at the following steps you can take to check if a brand name is registered.
Do a search on the main search engines
Typing in your brand name into the major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, will inform you whether there are any other websites sporting your proposed trademark. Although this method, while quick and easy, is by no means conclusive.
The inconclusiveness of this brand name checking procedure derives from the fact that despite society being firmly embedded into the digital era, not every business or brand has a website. Likewise, not every website is an officially registered brand or business.
Check registered brands on Companies House
As well as appraising just how much internet presence or (preferably) absence your proposed brand name has, to check whether a brand has been officially registered, you should give Companies House a visit.
Since 1844 the United Kingdom has been involved in a comprehensive company registration system. In 2006 the Companies Act was introduced in the UK, which means that all company registration matters are dealt with under this law. In England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all limited companies are registered at Companies House, which is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
There are more than three million limited companies registered in the UK, and searching on Companies House will inform you whether or not a certain name has already been registered.
Check trademark availability on Intellectual Property Office
No matter what marketplace you operate in; no matter the size and scope of your firm; a registered trademark is simply a must for your business.
It will serve to protect, differentiate and add-value to what you do “ and therefore make your business stand out in the crowd, says Dr Jonathon Elms of the Institute for Retail Studies.
You may have registered your company name with Companies House but in order to protect your brand or your trademark, you should consider registering it with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
The IPO is designed to help entrepreneurs and business owners find the protection for their intellectual property. Registering a trademark with the IPO will give you exclusive rights to use your brand name and the services or products that it covers in the United Kingdom. Having a brand name that is registered will therefore deter people from using that name without your permission, as well as making it easier for you to take legal action against anyone who does attempt to steal your name without your consent.
Check trademark availability on KnowEm
Of course it is an aspiration of every entrepreneur and business owner to create a brand so desirable and engaging that it ubiquitously defies geographical boundaries and obtains global appeal. With modern brands aspiring to reach out to a global audience it is important that you check if a brand name is already registered on an international scale.
You can find out if a brand, product or trademark is still available on the United States Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) by using KnowEm.com. KnowEm enables you to check the availability of a brand or product instantly across more than 550 popular and emerging social media sites.
Once you have officially registered your brand name on the likes of Companies House and the Intellectual Property Office and own exclusive rights to it, this valuable name can then, as Dr Elm points out, begin to add value to your products, services and business.