What is IPReye?
IPReye provides two essential services for trademark and brand enthusiasts – free trademark and logo search with option to register new trademarks and logos and a sophisticated online tool for trademark infringement reporting. We are a cutting edge image search to evaluate similarities between your idea for logo and logos in use. We have strong legal expertise in intellectual property rights and trademark issues. When all of these are put together you get world class trademark protection.
We are a leading online search for trademarks and logos. Just make trademark and logo searches for free as much as you like. We identify other registered trademarks that are similar in sound or spelling to your chosen name. We find out if your logo has any similar type of logos registered or in the use otherwise. We are an IPR partner for you to protect your trademark and logos worldwide.
Write your text trademark or upload your logo – we will find you the results which matches or overlaps with your searches.
The IPReye trademark search enables you to find most trademark "killers" quickly. And we don't give you search results with a lot of "noise". We search in the world's largest trademark databases, covering the US (USPTO database). Later on we will also show EU and WIPO trademark database search results as well as your domain name availability for .com and .net and the availability of the most important social media.
Until now this kind of trademark availability search - that can show you all similar trademarks - has been slow, difficult and expensive. Now it is fast, easy and free.
We also provide services to protect your existing trademarks and brands.
Why use an availability search?
The whole point of doing a trademark availability search is to avoid what the law refers to as likelihood of confusion. You can read on the USPTO's (The US Patent and Trademark Office) website: "A complete search is one that will uncover all similar marks, not just those that are identical." http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/search/
So you have to answer the question: Are there other similar trademarks, being used for similar or related goods/services? If there are, your new name may be infringing (violating) third party's trademark rights and they could force you to change name and even claim damage.
("killers") as possible with a minimum of search results to review (i.e. avoid the "noise").
On the surface this might sound pretty straightforward. But when you study how the courts have ruled on various likelihood of confusion cases, you begin to see the challenge.
We will find these similar trademarks for you, with a minimum of "noise". But you or your trademark expert will have to decide whether they pose a real threat to your chosen name or not.
How accurate is IPReye?
Today we find most potential threats in the databases we search. We have a new type of similarity algorithm that is very good at finding the potential name "killers" without producing a lot of "noise".
In some cases we will not find all potential name conflicts relating to your chosen name. In fact, as far as we know, nobody can guarantee you that. But for most of the searches IPReye will find most of the potential threats.
And we do not give you a search result that includes a lot of "noise". If you, as a user, have to go through lists with thousands of results, the search engine becomes useless.
We are constantly fine-tuning our algorithm to find the best balance between "killers" and "noise".
What differs IPReye from other trademark search engines?
We provide unique image recognition technology, which enables searches and registrations for logos. And all our trademark and logo searches are completely free.
In addition to above we also provide multiple ways to report IPR violations online and via mobile devices. This is completely unique online service so far.
What are the limitations to IPReye?
We are unable to find all trademarks that may pose a similarity problem. To our knowledge, no trademark search can achieve this.
We search US trademark database currently (USPTO). EU and WIPO trademark databases shall follow soon. Even though these databases are comprehensive, there may be other threats not covered by them.
What should I do with the search result?
Route 1 - Do it yourself:
- Limit your search to live trademarks, relevant markets and classes. Still have an extensive hit list? Try to exclude really common words from your name.
- Go through every registered trademark that made it into the search result and judge by their description of goods and services if they are being used for anything related to your business.
- Conduct web-based research on those trademarks you think are being used in a similar or related area to what your company will do.
- Ask yourself now if the two trademarks really are similar. Is there a risk for likelihood of confusion? To find the real problems, the IPReye search algorithm returns some hits that real people will not find to be similar.
If, after conducting your research, there still is a similar registered mark remaining in your market in a related line of business, then you have three options:
- Abandon your name and start over with a new or modified name. A tough but often necessary decision.
- Get expert advice. A trademark expert will basically perform steps 1-5, but he or she will do it based on years of experience and may see things from a different perspective. Sometimes a deal can be made with the trademark holder.
- File for a registration and hope that it will pass. This is very risky if you've already found similar marks you think might pose a problem.
Route 2 - Get advice from a trademark expert:
If you don't want to do it yourself, you should get help from a trademark expert. IPReye works in close co-operation with an extensive network of IPR and trademark lawyers globally. We can find you the best possible IPR / trademark expert. E-mail us trademarks@IPReye.com.
What markets are covered?
Currently USA, but we are going to have EU trademarks and WIPO integration. For logo search we show results from USPTO as well as Yahoo and Google search results.
IPReye search uses currently the USPTO database (US trademarks). Even though it is the argest available database from the USA, it still do not contain all US trademarks. So it's important for you to understand their limitations.
US (USPTO) - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains the official trademark database of approximately 2 million live trademarks and 5 million dead ones.
A USPTO registration is valid for the entire US. While a search in IPReye will give you a very good overview of US trademark situation, you should also look into the following:
- Every state in the US has its own trademark registers. To obtain all US states' marks, you need to search the state registers or pay for such a search through a trademark lawyer.
- So-called "common law" marks. They are not registered but have protection since they are used and known by their customers. You can find these marks by doing a web search, checking the yellow pages or reviewing other company lists.
- A USPTO registration is valid for the entire US. While a search in IPReye will give you a very good overview of US trademark situation, you should also look into the following:
What class should I choose?
There are currently 45 different classes in the international classification system (the Nice system) used by most countries - 34 for products and 11 for services. The system provides a way to sort trademarks according to the kind of products or services they represent.
IPReye uses the international classifications, which you can find at: http://www.wipo.int/classifications/nivilo/nice/index.htm
Usually, protection is granted only within the classes in which you've registered. However, some of the best-known brands are protected in all classes, even if they are not registered. So it is not wise to try to open up a "Adidas Restaurant" or a "Gucci Spa".
Sometimes choosing a class is easy. Other times, it's a bit more complex. For instance, there is no "Internet Services" class because it is considered too broad. Most trademarks are registered in one to three classes. Older trademarks are often registered in more classes since, over time, they are applied to new products and services.
- Check what classes your competitors or other similar companies are using.
- Also search in the classes you might enter over the long term.
- Some countries also check applications for conflicts in "nearby" classes. Use this list to find your "nearby" classes: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-applying/t-class/t-class-cross/t-class-cross-list.htm
- Many companies limit their registration to the class or classes they plan to offer in the short to mid term. Later on, they simply hope that other classes they might want to enter are available.
Three tools for determining class and description of goods and services:
- The USPTO has a list of "Trademark Acceptable Identification of Goods & Services" http://tess2.uspto.gov/netahtml/manual.html You can search this list for keywords and to see in what classes your keywords are used.
- The European Union organization OHIM's tool: http://oami.europa.eu/euroace/euroaceservlet?action=search&langid=en#
- The UK's Intellectual Property (IP) Office also has a tool for helping you determine class: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find-class.htm
Description of Goods and Services - How?
When registering a trademark, you will have to provide a "Description of Goods and Services" in connection with each class. This is basically a list of the goods or services on which you intend to apply your trademark.
There are lots of standard descriptions provided by the registration offices, but many trademarks have their own description.
Check what descriptions your competitors or other similar companies are using.
Live and dead trademarks?
Currently IPReye does not search among dead trademarks. This is because dead trademarks, with some rare exceptions (i.e. the mark is still in use, but the registration has not been extended for some reason), generally don't have any protection.
When you register a trademark, you choose if the registration is for a word mark, a logo or both. Which ever you choose the trademark must be distinctive.
A word mark will prevent others from using those words or combinations of words that are so similar they may create confusion. With a word mark, you are free to change the design. In fact, you don't even need a design. A logotype (sometimes referred to as device, design or figurative mark) is a mark where you have some sort of visual component or just a special typeface. A logo will only prevent others from using the identical, or a very similar logo.
IPReye offers unique feature to upload your logo sketchs and make comparisons to registered logos in USA. We also compare to logos available Internet using Google and Yahoo! Searches.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a distinctive sign - such as words, a logo or a combination of both - that can be used to distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors.
Are Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents the same things?
No. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of intellectual property. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product.
® or ™ or ℠ - What's the difference?
These three symbols represent the status of a mark and its level of protection. But the legal meaning of the three symbols varies from country to country. ™ - for an unregistered trademark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand goods. In many markets this symbol does not have a legal implication. It is more of a way for the owner to show that he or she cares about their mark. ℠ - used in the US just like the ™ symbol but for an unregistered service mark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand services. ® - for a registered trademark. In many countries the use of this symbol or the other ones is optional and doesn't have any legal relevance. You have your trademark protection in the use of your trademark anyway. But in the US it is important to use the symbol if you later want to claim damages.
Do we really need trademarks?
Just like all other types of intellectual property law (patents, trade secrets and copyrights, etc), trademark law is about protecting the owner's business. But there is a fundamental difference between trademark law and other types of intellectual property - trademark law is also designed to protect consumers. If it weren't for trademark law, you wouldn't know whether the product you just bought was what you thought it was. Any car manufacturer could call their car a Mercedes. Any fast-food chain could use a large yellow M as their logo.
"Likelihood of confusion" - What is that?
At the USPTO website you can read what "likelihood of confusion" boils down to:
"The principal factors considered by the examining attorney in determining whether there would be a likelihood of confusion are:
- the similarity of the marks; and
- the commercial relationship between the goods and/or services listed in the application.
To find a conflict, the marks do not have to be identical, and the goods and/or services do not have to be the same. It may be enough that the marks are similar and the goods and/or services related"
So, the two most important criteria to determine if there is a likelihood of confusion are:
- Trademark similarity - Do the two trademarks sound or look similar?
- Related business - Are the two trademarks being applied to products or services in a similar or related line of business?
An example: "Adobe" and "Adodle" - two names that sound very similar. If both names are being used for companies selling hot dogs, there's going to be a strong likelihood for confusion. But if one is selling lemons to retail chains and the other is selling coffee to consumers, both trademarks might be able to coexist.
Ultimately, it is the courts that will make the final ruling.
Why register a trademark?
The purpose of registering a trademark is to prevent competitors of your business from stealing your business name, logo, or slogan. Protecting your unique name, word, phrase, symbol or logo is one of the most important investments in your business. Many businesses lose creative logos, unique selling positions and slogans due to the lack of registering a trademark. By registering your trademark, you are protecting your rights as a business owner so no other competitor can diminish or dilute your quality of products or services. When you register your trademark, you can stop competitors from using or misappropriating not only your very same business name or logo, but also anything that is confusingly similar to your business name and logo. For this reason, registering your trademark is an important step in protecting your rights.
If you wish to register a trademark, a logo or a service mark, IPReye can assist you in obtaining one from the convenience of your home or office. Simply answer a few questions online and let us take care of the rest.
When is it unnecessary to register a trademark?
Basically you can skip registering a trademark when:
- It really doesn't matter that somebody starts using the same or a similar name.
- It really doesn't matter that you might have to change your name in the future. Very few businesses would answer yes to either of those questions. But admittedly there are cases when these risks are smaller:
- You plan to run your business on a very generic domain name that is hard or impossible to trademark because it is a very common word, like "Poker", "Fund" or "Cowboy hats". Risks:
- With a generic name, your risk of infringing upon another trademark is much smaller but you should still conduct a name similarity check. Domain names that are similar to a registered trademark can later be claimed by the trademark owner.
- The major risk here is that a competitor starts doing business on a very similar domain name, stealing or deceiving your customers. Funds.com competing with Fund.com. BestPoker.com taking some customers from Poker.com. Etc.
- Your company will have very few customers and you don't plan to market your company. You are maybe running a holding company or a one man consulting shop.
- You are running a local store, restaurant, hotel or service company in a smaller town. Risks:
- You still have to ensure that you are not infringing another trademark.
- There is still a risk that somebody will open a similar business under a similar name and start stealing or deceiving your customers.
While a lot of companies take some of the above risks, that doesn't mean it is the smart thing to do. Don't forget that well-managed smaller companies tend to grow into bigger companies. So having a strong name from the start doesn't hurt.
Isn't registering a domain name sufficient?
Securing an attractive domain name is certainly a good start. But if you have any intention of growing your business, including marketing your products and services, you'll need to make sure that your name is not infringing upon someone else's trademark rights. Otherwise you may need to change your name - a risk no business should take.
If your plan is to use a very generic domain name that is impossible to trademark, you might skip the trademark registration.
What does it cost to register?
All trademark and logo searches at IPReye are completely free.
We charge standard government fees and some moderate fees from our IPR specialists work when registering your trademarks and logos worldwide. Our prices are competitive due to automated registrations processes.
The total costs depend largely on your trademark class and target market selections. The total costs are always declared in our service before charging you.
Should I engage a trademark lawyer to register?
It depends. A lot of new companies use trademark experts or lawyers to help them, both in the screening and registration processes. And a lot of companies still do it themselves.
It depends on you and on the situation:
- What risk level can you tolerate? Using an expert minimizes risk.
- Is it a complex situation with potentially conflicting registrations? This is where an expert can help.
- Do you have the time to do it yourself?
- Can you afford the expert fees?
If you decide to do it yourself, you should be prepared to learn a bit and read the complete help file.
IPReye works in close co-operation with leading IPR lawyers globally. We are willing to help you in all of your trademark registration needs.
Reporting trademark infringements
What does your trademark infringement reporting tool do?
When you see a trademark being violated, or want to know if your new design violates other trademarks, IPReye is your choice. Our service is aimed for everyday consumers as well as hard core designers.
IPReye Global Ltd is a privately held expert company focusing on trademark protection issues globally. We present an easy way to report trademark infringements with smart phones, tablets and portables. Just take a photo of suspected trademark infringement, add some crucial information about the target and send it to us. We take care of the rest – analyse your report, contact the brand owner, manage the trademark infringement case with our legal partners and inform you all the time how the process progresses.
We have networked with all leading trademark protection professionals throughout the world. We are friends with the true owners of valued brands, trademarks and other IPRs.
We will offer unique opportunities for audience when reporting trademark infringement. Look around and let us know when seeing something suspicious. We will get you rewarded.
How to send photos to IPReye?
Currently we support two ways. You can upload your photos from your desktop computer, laptop or other portable device, which runs conventional web browsers and follow the process in the service. Alternative you can send your photo to email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Our system creates a Case ID and sends automatically back e-mail with further instructions to follow.
How much does it cost to use IPReye?
Registering to the service is completely free. Also uploading images from your laptop to our service or sending them via e-mail to us is completely free.
How to get rewarded?
IPReye together with its trademark professionals worldwide shall take care of the trademark infringement processes initiated by you. We will inform the progress of each process in our service. When there is a winning case with monetary compensation, we will contact you personally for payment details.
Who is behind IPReye.com?
IPReye.com is owned and managed by IPReye Global Ltd, a privately held Finnish limited liability company. The company was founded by two Finnish entrepreneurs, Mr Jussi Pirhonen, an experienced lawyer with special focus on IPR issues and Mr Jukka Koski whose backround is from technology start-ups, early-stage funding and corporate finance. IPReye.com has received some private equity funding from early-stage investors.