Any entrepreneur, or owner of a new business, will face great uncertainty when launching a project, and this uncertainty might come from very unexpected sources, like for instance one of Google’s practices.
A client contacted us recently to request a trademark search in the United States. The client, who wishes to remain anonymous, had already started using a trademark that they liked and wished to get our advice regarding registration.
When our attorney began the search, they realized at once that the mark could be facing a serious problem. It was a play on words; the mark sounded like the name of an animal, but was spelt differently.
For registration purposes, the mark had no issue; there was no similar trademark in the same class or related ones, it was not descriptive, etc. In short, it complied with the requirements for a trademark to be registrable.
The only problem was, when doing a Google search for the trademark, Google would show the results that it felt were relevant for the user. Since our client wishes to remain anonymous and we respect their decision, here is an example of what happened.
If one searches for “united srates potral office”, Google will automatically assume that one cannot spell and will show the results for “united states postal office”, along with a link to the results for the exact search:
That is to say, our client’s trademark did not appear unless one clicked on the link Search instead for "united strates potral office"
Since our client had not yet invested too much time or money in this trademark, and due to the possibility that their clients would not find them, they decided to order a trademark search for a new trademark, which they then applied for. This time their first step was to make sure that Google would indeed show results for an exact search.
Our client’s case is special, since for his business he deemed absolutely necessary to avoid the situation we described. However, there are other factors that may affect the use of your trademark. Contact us if you think we can help you minimize those risks.