What is trademark clearance search and why is it important?

A trademark search is a procedure whereby the availability and registrability of a proposed trademark is ascertained by finding out the presence of identical and similar trademarks that are pre-existing in a jurisdiction which might pose as a barrier to secure a trademark registration for the proposed trademark. It is recommended to conduct trademark searches before filing a trademark application as the search report is helpful in knowing the chances of success in registering the proposed trademark and if there are any risks of receiving a refusal from the trademark office and/or receiving an opposition from the third parties are involved. Thus, a trademark search can be helpful in avoiding legal disputes with the third parties and it provides an opportunity to the brand owners to strategize the trademark registration procedures which can save time and monetary resources of the brand owners.

Is there a universal Patent?

Patent rights are territorial in nature and thus are enforceable in the jurisdictions in which a patent is registered. There is no such patent registration system which can be termed as a universal patent system which would protect a patent in all the jurisdictions. Accordingly, patent protection is required in all the countries of interest either through national or regional applications such as European Patent Office (EPO), Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) and African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) etc. which cover a group of countries in the specific region.


However, the applicants seeking to facilitate a patent protection internationally for their inventions can be benefitted by filing one international patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which came into existence in 1978 and applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in approximately 153 member countries which are signatories to PCT system.

Do I need to renew my trademarks often?

A trademark registration grants exclusive rights in respect of the registered trademark in favor of the registrant for a specific period of time which is called as a ‘protection period’. In order to continue to enjoy said exclusivity of the trademarks for an additional term, a trademark can be renewed as long as the registrant is interested in the trademark (subject to a few exceptions such as cancellation due to non-use of the trademark in certain jurisdictions and losing distinctiveness of the trademark etc.). Please note that the validity of a trademark varies from one country to another.

Why should I be patenting my inventions?

Legal Protection: A patent registration grants you with exclusive rights on the registered Patent. A patent registration is helpful in preventing third parties from manufacturing, copying, modifying, using, distributing, importing/exporting and selling your invention without your consent. It also enables you to initiate and pursue legal actions against the infringing parties.

Return on Investment: As a patent is protected exclusively for a pre-determined period, it provides an edge over your competitors in the market. Through the exclusivity over the novel patent, a registrant is allowed to commercially use and exploit a patent by means of manufacturing and selling patented products, licensing/selling of patent rights and entering into a joint venture agreement/merger with market leaders etc. Thus, a registrant can emerge as a commercially strong and as a reputed organization as a patent registration generates revenue, royalties and financial stability to an organization. A Patent also enhances the goodwill and fame of the registrant and thus helps a registrant to enhance its market value. The monetary and reputational benefits generated by a patent compensate for the efforts, time and costs invested by a registrant during the research, development and registration of a patent.

Positive image:  Holding patents can act as a magnet to attract local and foreign investment. As an invention starts to gather finances, it can be used for further development/enhancement of the invention. This would increase commercial and industrial profit and growth of an organization. Patents stimulate the economic growth of a nation and the companies that hold Patents play a significant role in strengthening the economy.

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