Trademark search

By registering a sign as a trademark, the holder receives a unique monopoly on the use of that sign for certain products and services. But this advantage for one is also a disadvantage to another, namely for those looking for a new name for their company or product. Always perform a search to check whether your trademark may be used. The internet is for this course ideal for a first rough sorting. It immediately becomes clear if the domain name is not available when there are possible competitors with the same name. However, remember that an internet search shows only a small portion of all the potential problems.

Holders of an earlier similar mark, and companies with an older trade name may also object your use. It is not just about the identical name, but also about visual, aural or conceptual similarities. Should the resemblance be too great, and the mark used for somewhat similar products and services, a company can be forced to change the name. This brings not only huge costs on (think of recovering the products from the market, new company logo / website / printing / social media), it is an unnecessary destruction of a large part of the accumulated goodwill.

Avoid this form of monetary destruction and check at the beginning of the creational process whether a name is available by performing a trademark search. There are many forms of searches possible (short quick limited checks all the way to extensive searches).


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?