One of the most common reasons trademark applications got rejected is because the applied-for trademark is too similar to an already registered one, and there is a likelihood of confusion (Uspto.gov, 2011). That means the customers are likely to think the applicant's goods or services come from the same source as another party's goods or services. Therefore, a similar mark search is compulsory before applying to register a trademark. The trademark similarity search can mainly divide into four groups as follows,
Text-Based Similar Mark Search - Text-based similar mark detection is a semi-automated approach. The user will input a text into the search box and query for identical marks. The system will filter all text records and show the matching words accordingly. Currently, this approach is used in the trademark office of Sri Lanka. This approach can use with text-based marks. When it comes to logos or images, the accuracy is more diminutive.
Image-Based Based Similar Mark Search - This approach is also a semi-automated trademark similarity detection method. The user can upload their new mark, which they are willing to apply for the registration into this system. The system will process, detect, and properly show similar marks according to the uploaded mark. This approach can use with logo-based or image-based marks. Mixed Similar Mark Search - This approach combines those as mentioned earlier text-based similar mark search and image-based similar mark search. The user can either upload an image to find similar marks or type a text in the search box and query for identical marks.
Gazettes Based Similar Mark Search - Trademark agents or law firms mainly consider a similar mark search in gazettes. As they are doing the trademark fillings, they can have more than ten thousand trademarks under their name therefore they must keep the exclusive right of the corresponding owners (Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003, c.23). After the gazette is released with newly registered marks, the agent will upload that gazette into this system. The system will scan similar marks on the agent's current database and show the identified similar marks according to the uploaded gazette. This approach can use with both logo-based or image-based marks and text-based marks.
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