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Prior to applying for a trade mark be sure to search for similar trade marks.

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Prior rights may result in the cancellation of later trade mark rights or in later trade mark rights becoming unusable on account of legal actions to cease and desist. In order to avert lawsuits ans subsequent costs a thorough search for prior rights - both registered rights as well as rights not registered - is strongly advised.

What can you yourself do?

Based on your own industrial expertise make sure you do not use distinctive marks that have an identical or similar appearance to the mark (potential) competitors may be using.

Carry out an internet search in order to determine whether the marking you intend to use isn't already used by others

  • for identical or similar Products and Services (P/S). Please note that for so-called "trade marks having a reputation" protection may be claimed for product/service fields for which the trade mark was not registered and/or in which said trade mark is not explicitly known;
  • in Austria and/or those countries in which you seek to obtain protection.

Searches can be carried out - free of charge - in the following trade mark data banks

  • see.ip - the Austrian Patent Office's information portal

  • TMview - the EU Trademark Office's trade mark data plattform

  • eSearch plus - Union trade marks

  • Madrid Monitor -  International trade marks

In case you seek protection of your trade mark for pharmaceutical products be sure to determine whether conflicting WHO Markings are in existence.

The Austrian Patent Office offers several information services which you should make use of:

  • The Customer Service Center's telephone information service

    • information about protective rights currently in force, especially their bibliographic dataten;
    • legal information of a general nature (in cases of legal dispute this however does not amount to a legal representative's counselling)
  • The Austrian Patent Office's library enabling you to conduct a search in the Office's trade mark data banks as well as the trade mark publications of numerous patent and trade mark offices. Such publications are e.g. trade mark gazettes, publications on CD-ROM, online data banks (esp. of the WIPO an the EU Trademark Office).

Professional Help

Upon request the Austrian Patent Office will carry out a comprehensive Pre Check or a quick Trade Mark Similarity Search for your trade mark. The Trade Mark Similarity Search lists all similar trade marks and thus rather caters fo the needs of IP experts. Pre Check provides you with a comprehensive analysis as well as a legal assessment of your trade mark thus making you fully aware - even without any previous knowledge regarding trade mark law related matters - of your trade mark's protectability and the existence of similar or confusingly simliar registered trade marks.

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