Brand clearance searches – check brand names before you go too far

Brand is the most powerful and enduring Intellectual Property right.

Creating a new brand, new product, service, or business name can be a very time-consuming and potentially expensive process.

The creative branding process is fun and exhilarating but rarely are Intellectual Property considerations included early enough in the process and this can lead to a whole world of pain later.

Better therefore to integrate IP considerations early in the branding process to avoid wasted time and energy.

Most IP experts will advise checking registered business names and trademark attorneys always undertake a thorough search of the national trademark registers to see if the name is already in use.

But all business is now online!

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Most of us now research and reference online first before anything else. We use Google, we look at websites and we engage with social media. Hence online name search is crucial for developing a successful brand:


During the brand development stage, a thorough online search should be undertaken..... on Google, of domain name registries and on social media platforms to see whether there is anything confusingly similar or even identical? A Google search shows if there is a website it does not show if there is a domain registered or where the website has not yet been published.


We recently worked with a client where the trademark had already been registered without realising that a Facebook page using the same name and concept was already in existence. Also, that a domain had been registered (with the website launched a few days later). In this case it was difficult to takedown the website or social media page because the client’s trademark had been filed after the website and social page had been created. This meant it was difficult to show trademark infringement.

Brand clearance search service

We search for identical and confusingly similar marks in your goods and services using intellectual property registers, data bases and online sources: search engines, social media platforms, domain name registries, and websites.

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Neil Court Johnson

John has played an invaluable role in assisting us to develop and implement a trade secrets programme, to identify and roll out IP best practice in process and systems - and has provided us with critical support regarding IP in real life business negotiations. I would strongly recommend John as a business partner.

Christine Jennings

I have worked with John for many years within the IP industry. He has an impressive ability to identify opportunities and turn these into commercial business deliverables.

Katie Gordon

I was very confused about what unregistered trademark and registered trademarks were, IP protection and simply how to protect my business and IP assets.

Brian Mwenda

“It is always a delight working with John. He has been an invaluable resource to our business as we build our intellectual property asset base. We have successfully received registration for trademarks and patents while following an IP strategy developed by John.

Harry Dunlop

“I was fortunate enough to work with John relatively early-on in my career and look back on that time extremely fondly. John is an exceptional and instinctive mentor and coach who always brings a wealth of business and IP experience to any situation with understanding and compassion.

Simon Webster

I thoroughly enjoyed working with John. We built two new products together, worked on challenging market and customer opportunities and had a great deal of fun along the way.

Colin Hunter

I have known John for many years and I value his logic, his structured thinking and his ability to make complex simple especially, not not only, in IP. Would recommend him highly as a strategic and thinking partner.

Christian Bunke

Exalt IP coached us on how to achieve amazing value for our IP assets when we sold the business and the IP separately

CEO MyDrive

“Exalt IP helped us develop an IP Strategy Business Plan, identify and protect the value in our IP and to enhance the value of our business” CEO MyDrive