Before filing a trademark application, it is always advisable to check if there are any prior existing and filed marks which are identical or considered deceptively similar to the mark to be applied. An application filed is examined by the TMO and one of the most common grounds of refusal is ‘existence of prior similar marks,’ be it pending or registered. Hence conducting a search in the online records of the TMO and to be more secure, online, internet domains etc. would immensely help the applicant in foreseeing and that way avoiding/tackling objection. This gives the applicant an idea about the prior existing identical/similar marks and takes a decision as to how he wishes to proceed accordingly.

A search in the online records of the TMO can be conducted free of charge. Though a few years ago, the online search was charged for a fixed time and notably, an application to search for a mark could be made, with more digitization, the TMO has fortunately made the online public search free.

The search is based upon certain criteria. First, it is important to determine if the search is for the word, or on a phonetic basis or Vienna code (for non-alpha elements like figures, shapes, etc) and accordingly also determine the keyword to be sued to search.
Once we decide upon the keyword to be used to conduct the search, it is necessary to determine if the search should provide results

  1. beginning with the keyword
  2. encompassing the keyword
  3. matching the keyword

It is also necessary to mention the class.

  1. Knock-out Search
  2. Clearance Search
  3. INN Search

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