You have an idea for a brand to represent your company on the market and offer your goods and services for sale. Diligently, you develop your plan – you invest in design, manufacturing, marketing. You pursue business deals. Gradually, your efforts pay off and you start seeing a return on your investment. But, all of this could be derailed suddenly, if it turns out that the brand you’ve been putting your efforts into, infringes someone’s earlier trademark. The owner of a previous mark has a wide arsenal for dealing with trademark infringement, and they can use those against you. You may end up having to stop using your brand, and in some instances, you may also have to pay significant compensation and fines. How can such a scenario be avoided? The key is in the Preliminary trademark search. Before you start using your trademark, and before you register it, it is advisable to carry out a preliminary search. The search will show what trademarks have been registered up to the present moment for the goods and services that interest you, will analyse the level of risk, and it will give you an idea whether the trademark you want to use is available and can be registered. It is best for the trademark search to be carried out at an early stage in the life of a new brand. This way, if any issues are identified, you will have the opportunity to take any corrective steps, such as changing the brand, or developing a new one. Early on in the process, this is easier to do and the costs will be lower, since no other investments would have been made in the brand yet. Otherwise, you risk investing time and money in a brand, which at a later stage could end up being unusable, due to infringing someone else’s rights. The criteria for what earlier trademarks can cause difficulties are dictated by Bulgarian and European law, as well as the judgments of the Bulgarian and European court. As this is a highly specialised and dynamic field, in order to be certain that the results of the search are reliable, it is recommended to use a qualified Intellectual Property professional to conduct the search. An incorrectly done search, which does not contain all results, or where the results have not been analysed correctly, can give an incorrect picture of the situation, and potentially mislead as to the risks around your new trademark. A quality trademark search is particularly important when looking to expand your business abroad. In places like the USA, western Europe, Singapore and others, the costs for legal disputes (both in terms of compensation awarded, but also in attorney fees) can be very high. Moreover, this can delay your project, or in some cases, cause it to fail completely. Therefore, proactive steps must be taken to avoid legal issues when choosing a trademark, in order to increase your business’s chances of commercial success. Contact "Dr. Emil Benatov & Partners" for high quality, professional trademark searches on the terrirtories of Bulgaria, EU, UK, Ukraine, Russia and beyond.