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Who enjoys searching for trademarks? I don’t know many people who like using the clunky interface of the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) over at the USPTO website when they need to search for US trademarks. If you’re looking for a better search interface for trademark searching, try using the new WIPO Global Brand Database. You’ll still have to use good old TESS if you’re looking for US trademarks, but the Global Brand Database is an excellent resource for locating “internationally protected trademarks, appellations of origin and armorial bearings, flags and other state emblems as well as the names, abbreviations and emblems of intergovernmental organizations,” according to a recent press release on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website.
If you need an in-depth search, you should use the services of professional searchers, like Landon IP’s expert trademark searchers. If you want to do a quick search for international trademarks, then join me in exploring the the features of the Global Brand Database.
On the main page of the Global Brand Database (let’s call it the GBD), you’ll see three main sections: the “Search By” menu, the “Filter By” menu, and the list of search results. The “Search By” menu is the main search form for the GBD, and you can search within different fields by clicking on the tabs at the top of the menu. The searchable fields include:
- Brand – Text, Logo, and Goods. Text searching includes the options for exact , phonetic, fuzzy, or stemmed keyword searches. For an explanation of what these searching options mean, visit the detailed help section of the database.
- Names – Holder or Representative.
- Numbers – Publication Number or Application Number.
- Dates – Registration, Application, or Expiration.
- Class – Vienna (“numerical codes that describe the visual appearance of the image associated with each record”) or Nice (“numerical codes that describe the Goods and Services associated with the brand”).
- Country – Origin or Destination.
You can use boolean operators, wildcard operators, proximity operators, and range searches within the search fields. After you conduct the search, the search terms and operators will appear in the blue bar beneath the menu, under the title “Current Search.” You can then delete the terms within the blue bar to clear that particular search term and broaden your search. You can also combine the search terms in the blue bar, by clicking and dragging one search term on top of another term. This will connect the terms by OR.
The “Filter By” menu is situated beside the search menu, and you can filter search results by the criteria indicated in the five tabs on the menu:
- Source – International Trademarks (Madrid), Emblems (6ter), or Appellations of Origin (Lisbon).
- Status – Active, Pending, or Deleted.
- Origin – You can choose countries of origin by country code in a list, visually through a map, or from the drop-down menu by region.
- Designation – You can choose designated countries by country code in a list, visually through a map, or from the drop-down menu by region.
- Expiration – Expired (optionally within the last month) or Will Expire (optionally within the next month, within six months, or within the year).
After you conduct a search, the “Filter By” menu automatically lists the numbers of records from the search results within each category under the tab. For example, after a text search for “soda,” the Expiration tab on the filter menu will list that 12 records are expired and 29 will expire. Choose the specific criteria to filter, press the “filter” button on the menu, and the filter terms will appear in the blue bar below the “Filter by” menu, under the title “Current Filter.” You can then delete the terms within the blue bar to clear that particular filter and broaden your search.
The results list is displayed below the blue bar containing the search and filter terms. You can view the results as a list of details or a list of simple brand images with titles. The results are viewable 10, 20, 0r 30 to a page, and pages can be sorted through by clicking a forward/backward button or by typing in the page number. In the details view of the results list, you can sort the results according to Source, Status, Scope, Origin, Number, or Registration Date by clicking on the column title and selecting the small up or down arrows that appear beside the title. Clicking these arrows will sort the list in ascending or descending order. Other fields included in the details result list are Brand, Holder, Vienna Class, Nice Class, and a small image.
Full Record View
By clicking on a brand in the results list, you’re taken to the full view of the record. Important fields visible only in the full record view include:
- “Language(s) of the application”
- “Name and address of the holder of the registration”
- “Contracting State or Contracting Organization in the territory of which the holder has a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment”
- “Legal nature of the holder (legal entity) and State, and, where applicable, territory within that State where the legal entity is organized”
- “Name and address of the representative”
- “Indication relating to the nature or kind of mark”
- “Description of mark”
- “The International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification) and the list of goods and services classified according thereto”
- “Basic registration”
- “Indications regarding use requirements”
Click on the image below to view an actual example of a full record within the GBD. You can page through the the search results in full record view by clicking on the arrows in the upper left hand corner of the page. Return to the details view of the result list by clicking on the “back” button above the arrows. Generate a permanent link to the record by clicking on the small “link” icon in the upper right hand corner of the page.
You can temporarily save searches and records in the GBD. In order to save a search, choose the “searches” tab in the drop-down menu in the upper right hand corner of the page. You can save your current search or view past saved searches through this menu tab. You must name the searches you save, such as my example search, (BRAND :soda OR LOGO:soda) with filters SOURCE:MAD and STATUS:DEL, named as “soda3” in the “Saved Searches” list. If you choose to view saved searches, you can either click on the saved search so that it automatically is generated or you can delete it.
To save records, first click on the check mark next to the desired records in the result list. Then, click on the “records” tab in the drop-down menu and choose “create record set.” You must name the record set before you save it, so you can later view the list through “view record sets.”
The Global Brand Database has an elegant search interface, especially in comparison to other free trademark search systems. Unfortunately, the database has some glitches that occasionally makes it very difficult to use. The system froze on me multiple times when I was trying to filter searches or view a search result. I then had to refresh the system and lose my search. Another down side is that you can’t automatically combine two searches or records sets. You can only edit an individual search or record set by viewing it, refining it with the search and filter menus, and re-saving it. The searches and record sets also can’t be saved for long periods of time; they only last through your current browser session. Finally, I was disappointed that the system can’t print or export the saved searches, record sets, search results, or full records. The features and functionality of GBD are basic in comparison to the advanced features of subscription databases, but it’s still useful to have access to this free tool for basic international trademark searches. If you need an advanced trademark search, though, hire an expert searcher with access to advanced databases.
This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.