July 25, 2022
# Why Trademark?

Why Trademark Searching Matters in Trademark Registration

Why Trademark Searching Matters in Trademark Registration

In nearly all cases, performing a trademark search is a vital first step for those looking to apply for a trademark online in Singapore. This is because trademark searching allows businesses to avoid registering elements that are similar to existing registered trademarks.

Registering a trademark without first conducting a thorough search may turn out to be a time-consuming and costly endeavour as there is a risk of the trademark application being rejected by the trademark office when the trademark is found to be similar to an existing trademark application or registration. Furthermore, third parties who have registered a similar trademark or have been using a similar trademark may oppose the registration of the trademark.

Keep in mind that the registration process takes at least 6-8 months to complete. If you have already begun to use your trademark and are not able to get your trademark registered down the road, it may be necessary to immediately develop and promote a new branding, cease all production processes, recall finished goods, cancel advertising campaigns, and take other actions that have significant financial consequences.

What is a Trademark Search?

Before applying for a trademark registration, it is crucial to determine whether there are any already existing trademarks that could hinder you from registering and using your trademarks.

The process of trademark search and clearance helps you gather and assess information for evaluating whether potential trademarks are available and how simple or challenging they would be to protect. Essentially, trademark searching helps identify existing trademarks that are already registered or in use, which may conflict with your potential trademark.

In addition, searching for these existing registered trademarks may also prove valuable for:

  • Advising against the risk of certain usages of trademarks
  • Identifying risks related to business expansion under the trademark
  • Assessing risks with changes to a name that may potentially be used as a trademark
  • Assessing the strength of infringement claims from other parties and increasing the power of your own potential claims against another party
  • Conducting due diligence in matters like mergers and acquisitions and other financing transactions

Types of Trademark Searches

Searches come in various forms depending on key factors, including:

  • The client’s budget, risk tolerance, and timing
  • The competitive environment
  • The extent and nature of the intended use of the potential trademark

Trademark searches are generally classified into two types: preliminary searches and comprehensive searches.

Preliminary Searches

A preliminary search, also known as a knockout search, finds any unmistakable conflicting trademarks before investing resources in a more costly yet comprehensive search from trademark search vendors. This type of search has a narrow focus and cannot accurately identify the innumerable phonetic, spelling, or other variations covered by a comprehensive search.

At Cat and Pillar, we do not conduct any preliminary trademark searches, as they cannot be relied upon to decide whether the client should proceed with the trademark registration or not. Most of the time, preliminary searches will not return any relevant results, as it is only searching for identical or highly similar trademarks. However, a positive preliminary search does not mean that the trademark is available for registration.

Comprehensive Searches

A comprehensive or full search is an exhaustive search and typically includes a search of IPOS records, websites, domain name databases, and more. This type of search goes beyond just searching for identical trademarks and seeks to pick out structural, conceptual, and phonetic various, such as spelling variations, phonetic equivalents, abbreviations, visual elements, irregular or inventive word constructions, synonyms, transliterations, and translations (or foreign counterparts).

As a trademark examiner of 8 years, and the person who designed the search algorithm used by the Singapore government for trademark examination purposes, our founder closely understands the trademark examination standards in Singapore and has developed a system for performing comprehensive searches that are accurate and reliable.

Preliminary vs Comprehensive Searches

Since the standard for determining whether a trademark infringement claim is maintained hinges on whether two trademarks are confusingly similar, a comprehensive search is more effective in determining the risks associated with your potential trademark.


The importance of performing a trademark search in Singapore cannot be understated. Given the enormous number of registered marks in the country, it is crucial to do a thorough investigation to reduce your chances of running into issues. To ensure your trademark registration goes smoothly without a hitch, consider engaging with Cat and Pillar’s brand registration services in Singapore that can simplify the process.

When it comes to anything related to trademark registration, from submitting applications to trademark renewal in Singapore, our knowledgeable specialists here at Cat and Pillar are always at your disposal. Let us help you meet all your trademark requirements and facilitate the application process so you can quickly move forward with your business plans. For more information about industry-leading trademark solutions, don’t hesitate to contact us at www.catandpillar.com.

Why Trademark?