The Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union
The Community search report is drawn up from OHIM’s database and lists any identical or similar earlier Community trade marks (including International Registrations designating the EU). When the new application has been published, proprietors of the earlier trade marks or trade mark applications cited in the report are informed by letter about the new application. This is called a "surveillance letter".
Community search reports and surveillance letters are sent as a service that is included in the application procedure and, as such, are covered by the basic application fee.
When the national search option is selected by the applicant, OHIM requests the production of national search reports from the relevant participating national offices, who remain responsible for the content of these reports.
The results of the search reports as well as the surveillance letters are for information only, i.e. the citation of a given trade mark should not be considered to constitute a finding that a conflict in fact exists. Such a conclusion can only be reached if and when an opposition is filed and decided upon.
The purpose of the search reports is to give the applicants the possibility of withdrawing their applications after analyzing the report contents. The surveillance letters inform proprietors about new, similar trade marks and they can then decide whether or not to file an opposition.
For further information consult the FAQ about searches.
Community search report
This report is drawn up from OHIM’s database of prior CTM applications and registrations and prior International Registrations designating the EU, taking into account the filing date, the trade mark name, the figurative elements of the mark (if applicable) and the classes of goods and services according to the Nice Classification
All figurative elements need to be classified in order to perform a search. For this, the OHIM uses a modified version of the Vienna classification of figurative elements called the OHIM Vienna Classification Manual. This manual is based on WIPO’s latest version of the Vienna Classification for figurative elements which has been adapted to OHIM’s specific needs (for example, it includes the creation of some new codes).
Regarding goods and services, please note that only the Nice classes and not the particular goods or services are considered for these searches. The search engine performs cross searches between classes when similarities are considered to exist between them.
The Community search report lists the cited trade marks using the INID codes following the WIPO standard. Representations of figurative marks are for the time being not included in the search reports but can be found in the online database for Community trade marks.
National search reports
National offices participate on an optional basis in the national search system. Following Rule 5a CTMIR, the search reports should contain some minimum compulsory elements. The format, however, may differ from one office to another. In any case, both format and contents remain the responsibility of the issuing office and in this respect, the role of the OHIM is limited to the reception of these reports and their transmission together with the Community search report. Each national report identifies the issuing office and any further inquiry can be addressed directly to the national office.
As from 1st January 2013, the following national offices perform searches of their national databases: Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Finland.
The national searches are optional which means that they will be prepared only if an applicant makes a request at the time of filing and pays the appropriate fee. If national searches are requested, this will automatically extend to all participating national offices.