Is the cost of a free “knock out” search worth it?

With mounting pressures on brand and trademark professionals to stretch their budgets, there is increasing temptation to seek quick and cheaper methods to screen, search, and clear marks for primary and secondary brands, and seasonal products.

In an independent research survey* on the challenges that trademark professionals face, 62% of respondents said, at one point or another, they relied on free internet search engines and free trademark office tools when clearing a mark. Some had sought out free alternatives to perform a “knock out” screening – the first step in the clearance process.  The question remains – is “free” an effective way to reduce costs or is it, in the long run, false economy?

When Free Isn’t Really Free: Five Reasons To Avoid Trademark Screening Tools,” a CompuMark white paper, explores if bargain-basement online search screenings are worth the cost  – even if they are free. To answer that question, the author considers five points:

  • Efficiency – searching free databases takes time, especially if you are searching multiple jurisdictions. If you consider the time it takes to compile findings and review them, is a “weak” tool worth the cost?
  • Reliability – are you working with accurate, error-checked, and updated data? If not, will you miss relevant findings? (Have you considered what that might cost to your firm’s reputation if a search or a registration goes awry?)
  • Noise if you perform a free web search, how much “noise” or unfocused results are you going to have to sift through? The algorithm that a web search engine produces could generate thousands of results.
  • Workflow – what if you need to filter the results or want translations for a client. Does the free product support it? If not, how much time will it take to find an additional solution?
  • Expertise – searches and search tools can be complex. Is there someone available to help you when you have a question or get stuck? If not, what’s the cost of all the time you just spent searching?

The Conclusion

While free screening tools offer basic brand information and don’t have a cost attached, they do not offer the same level of detail, search capabilities, and protection as tools specifically developed for trademark screening and searching. And the consequences of “not getting it right” can have a significant negative impact on brands, both big and small – oppositions, costly legal action, customer confusion, and loss of revenue.

The Good News

“When Free Isn’t Really Free” offers an alternative to “free” and details how to conduct an effective search with a trademark screening tool that combines speed, convenience, quality, and affordability –without all the stress.

Many of readers of this blog will already be familiar with the tool –  SAEGIS on SERION. It delivers time savings, global coverage, industry-leading accuracy, and personalized support. Designed specifically for trademark screening, SAEGIS lets you tailor your search to get the precise results you need. And for those who love automation, — use its advanced AutoScreen technology and let SAEGIS do it for you. Using SAEGIS Online Trademark Screening to perform “knock-out” searches is not only easy, but an investment that minimizes your workload, reduces your risk, and maximizes your peace of mind so you can sleep at night.

While SAEGIS is not “free,” as the old adage states, “You get what you pay for.”

*Independent research firm Vitreous World was commissioned by CompuMark to survey 300 trademark professionals across the United Kingdom, USA, Germany, and France during the third-quarter of 2017.