Prior art search and freedom of use

Why and how to check the availability of a trademark, design, domain name, legal name or invention you would like to protect?

What is the advantage of carrying out a prior art search before filing an application?

brand clearanceA prior art search makes it possible to check the availability of a sign whose protection is sought. It is very important to verify and ensure that no one owns prior rights on the sign in France, in the European Union or in any other place in the world, that may hinder or limit your freedom to use your products or processes that could be associated with it. Thus, this approach has a preventive nature.

What are the risks if you don’t carry out a prior art search?

Although this is not a compulsory formality, a prior art search appears as an indispensable prerequisite for filing a trademark or another distinctive sign.

The question of risks logically leads to measuring the benefits.

The research makes it possible to assess and reduce the possibility of a refusal or an opposition issued by an industrial property office or a third party, against your application. Any identified legal risk may subsequently have significant financial consequences.

What is a prior art search?

There are two specific types of research:

Searching identical trademarks: It enables the identification of identical trademarks registered or registered for identical and/or similar products and/or services. The results of this research identify risks to the highest degree.

Searching similar trademarks: it allows you to identify trademarks that are particularly similar to the one you are planning to file, but that are not entirely identical.


In the long term, a prior search implies an analysis, a survey of use and, if necessary, the development of a strategy to overcome any obstacles to your repository projects.

In the digital age, this research is becoming increasingly complex and requires the help of a professional.

Dreyfus has the necessary expertise and legal tools to carry out these operations and offers you personalized risk assessments of your projects.