Monitoring new trademark applications which may be identical or similar to an already registered trademark is just as important as registration itself. Once a client has commenced the process of protecting their distinctive sign, they must also take into consideration that defending their trademark is also their responsibility.
On an international level, and in the majority of our jurisdictions, the competent administration does not conduct any prior ex officio examination with regard to earlier trademarks, and therefore it is possible to apply for and register trademarks which are similar to those already registered.
This can generate a risk of confusion with other third-party products and services, both at registration level and through its use within the market, and could be detrimental to the reputation or good name of the trademark.
In order to prevent this harm from occurring, it is important for the holder of the registered trademark to be able to identify, during the administrative proceedings and before they are granted, all third party identical or similar trademarks in order to file, where appropriate, the relevant administrative objection against them. This can prevent the granting of such trademarks and their introduction onto the market, and also reduces considerably the costs of taking action in case the trademark had been identified at a later stage.
Furthermore, as part of the trademark watch process we must not forget the unfair practices or fraudulent use which can have a negative impact on the reputation of duly registered distinctive signs. The Internet and new technologies have facilitated an increase in these practices and, for this reason, trademark owners must not neglect monitoring their trademarks within these areas.
Ultimately, this is competitive intelligence at the service of improving the management of one of a company’s most valuable assets. An adequate trademark watch is the best investment for anticipating any action for its defence.