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Trade Mark Watch Services

21 February 2016

There is a temptation for trade mark owners to breathe a sigh of relief as they eventually file their trade mark applications. It is often the culmination of months of work searching for any prior rights and perhaps investigating, negotiating, cancelling or acquiring such rights. It is an end, but only to the beginning of a brand’s lifecycle. Once the application is filed, this is when the brand protection programme begins in earnest.


A trade mark “watch” is a service that monitors the trade mark registers in a particular country, region or even globally and sends a notification whenever a trade mark application is filed that is identical or similar to the word, image, logo or design that is the subject of the watch.

The principal use of a watching service is to alert brand proprietors to the fact that a third party may be trying (consciously or not) to register a trade mark that is identical or similar to that of the proprietor. This advance notification then gives the proprietor an opportunity to warn the business concerned that they may be engaged in potentially infringing activities and, if necessary, to file an opposition against their trade mark application in order to prevent it from achieving registration. It is often far easier to resolve disputes at this early stage rather than at a later stage when the third party may have put more spend behind their mark or have actually launched it in the marketplace (in which case exit costs may be substantially higher).

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