Considerable financial loss can result from launching a new product or service without first ascertaining whether competitor's Intellectual Property Rights exist and may be infringed.
With regard to products, the main concern will normally be patent rights. If your new product has inventive merit, you should obviously consider seeking patent protection either for the product or the inventive aspects of that product. In this case it may be possible to use the results of the Official Search to gain some insight into existing patent rights of third parties which may be important. Careful drafting of the claims, and so the search conducted, is necessary to try and elicit the maximum benefit of the search to identify relevant third party rights. We have considerable experience in drafting claims to assist with pertinent identification of third party rights.
Trade Marks - brand names, product names, logos etc - should also be cleared prior to first use. Several times we have seen large sums of money spent on developing and launching a new brand only for that to be met by the immediate receipt of a letter threatening legal proceedings for infringement of existing Trade Mark rights. In our practice, we would normally conduct brief clearance searches prior to filing a trade mark application and advise on the most auspicious timing for filing a trade mark application and so attend to any third party rights prior to launch of a new brand.
In many cases, the cost of a clearance search will be insignificant compared with the development and launch costs. We will work with you and the product launch to maximise the benefit of IP to you and minimise the risk of infringing other's rights. Sometimes this includes modifying the product or brand to avoid existing rights but still enable the project to go ahead.