Public Search

Last Updated at: Jun 12, 2021
Trademark Public Search
SONY can now go ahead with its much-anticipated launch of Playstation 5 (PS5) in India. The global launch for PS5 was scheduled for 12th November 2020. But, the same got delayed in India because of a trademark objection filed by SONY. Hitesh Aswani, a Delhi resident, claimed to have filed for the same trademark way back on October 29, 2019, to which SONY objected after discovering about it during the trademark search.  However, on 26th October,  Aswani withdrew his trademark application and this has paved the way for SONY to launch PS5 in India soon.
  1. What are the various types of trademark public search?

  2. Classification of goods and services

  3. How to do a trademark public search

  4. Why is a public search required?


Trademarks usually consist of a particular design, symbol, sign or expression. It plays a crucial role in distinguishing any goods or services of one company or manufacturer from another. Having a trademark is beneficial for any business and therefore, availing a trademark is important. Before claiming a trademark, one must know whether the desired trademark is available or already taken. A trademark public search is necessary to know the availability of a trademark. To perform a public search, the classification of goods and services, parameters or types of public search and the need for doing a public search must be analyzed.  

Types of trademark public search

The public search trademark can be divided into three parameters or categories, which are described below.

  • Wordmark search

Wordmark search applies to the goods and services which are to be identified with wordmarks. It indicates any word or marks that help in identifying or distinguishing any goods or services. Wordmarks include words, letters, numbers or any typographic characters. If the name of the product of any goods or service providing company is word-based, it comes under the wordmark-based trademark.

  • Viena Code search

Viena code is an international standard for the classification of figurative elements of trademarks. Therefore, Viena code search is applicable for figurative elements such as an image, illustration, graphic label, pictorial element or the combination of the aforementioned objects. The trademark office provides a Viena Code for the trademark applicant having any figurative element. While doing a Viena Code search, one must enter the Viena code followed by the class of the goods or service. In India, this international classification standard is followed for the figurative marks.

  • Phonetic search

Phonetic search is done in cases of trademarks with the same pronunciation. Similar-sounding trademarks can create confusion. A phonetic search is applied for these. Two trademarks can be of the same name but with different spellings. Customers or the target audience can confuse one trademark for the other, which can lead to the loss of customers of the target audience and therefore, loss of the company. Doing a Phonetic search, before applying for a trademark will help in avoiding the scope of confusion.

Online Trademark registration

Classification of goods and services

The categorization of the goods or services is required for the trademark search. As per NICE, an international classification standard for trademark registration, there are 45 trademark categories. 34 categories among the total 45 represent goods and the other 11 categories are for services. 

The classification of goods is done in the following way –

  • Finished goods: Finished goods are classified based on their purpose or function.
  • Multi-purpose finished goods: It is classified based on its function or the materials used in the production of the goods.
  • Raw materials: They are classified based on the material they consist of.
  • Multiple materials: In the case of multiple materials, the classification is done based on the predominating material.
  • Goods that form part of another product: The goods are classified in the same category as the product.

The classification of the service is done based on the activities involved in the service. Moreover, rental services are categorized in the same class as the services provided using rented objects. Services providing information, advice or consultation fall in the same category as the matters involving information, advice or consultation. 

How to do a trademark public search

The trademark public search is done in two methods. The first method for trademark search, i.e., the Preliminary search can be done on the Indian Trademark database, using the public search online records. One needs to provide the search type, class specification and the description of goods or services. Public search trademarks can be easily done online. Follow the below-mentioned steps for conducting a trademark public search.

  • Visit the official website of Intellectual Property India
  • Select the “Search Type” from the drop-down menu.
  • Select the “Wordmark” from the drop-down menu.
  • Mention the “Class” of the goods or services.
  • Provide “Goods Description” 
  • Click on the “Search” button.

The next method for trademark search, i.e., the full search requires professional help. An applicant can seek help from a professional agency that will provide a proper report made based on all the important parameters such as trade publications, business records and so on. 

Why is a public search required?

Doing a public search before applying for a trademark is essential for various reasons, which are mentioned below.

  • Avoid confusion

Firstly, similar trademarks can create problems among the target audience of a company. This confusion can affect the business as well as the reputation of the company. A public search before applying for trademark registration will ensure zero chances of confusion.

  • Avoid legal problems

Using the same trademark as any other company can lead to legal problems. Any company can bring legal charges against a company operating with the same trademark. Using a registered trademark without the concern or permission of the trademark owner is a legal offence. 

  • Select the best trademark

Getting a good trademark is vital for any company or business as it acts as the face of the company or business and aids in establishing the brand value. A public search done before applying for trademark registration will help in availing the best-suited trademark.

Public search is the method of finding the already registered trademarks using the public search online records. One can find the trademark that has already been registered by another company or business and avoid using the same trademark. However, a public search will enable one to find a unique and distinguished trademark. However, one may wonder if doing only the preliminary trademark search is enough before applying for trademark registration. The preliminary search will only show potential conflicts or legal battles. A full-search with the help of a professional agency will element all the possibilities of any conflict with any other trademark owner. In India, trademarks are classified into two symbols, i.e., “TM“ and “R”. “TM“ acts like a provisional trademark, used by unregistered trademarks. On the other hand, “R” is a symbol of a registered trademark, used by the registered owner. 

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Senior Executive - Content in Vakilsearch | Former TEDxSKCET Licensee | Content Marketing | Psychology | Engineering (IT) | Google Developers Group (GDG) co-organizer | WTM Ambassador