Searches: The cost of free: why thorough trademark searches are necessary

By Alexandra J Roberts

When it comes to trademark clearance, thorough searches are essential – but can free search tools give lawyers the functionality they need?

One day before Hardihood Brewing was set to debut this summer and after four years of preparation, a trademark dispute prompted it to change names. The owners of coffee and juice bar Sol Kitchen had already spent $10,000 on their website, branding and logo design when they were sued for trademark infringement and forced to come up with a new name two days before opening their doors. A Louisiana clothing designer who called her apparel line Monkey Hill had no idea that the phrase was already a registered trademark for clothing; she abandoned her brand name after more than two years of use. South Loop Brewing Company chose its name five years ago, but apparently was unaware of the similarly named South Loop Lager until the brewery applied to register its trademark earlier this year.

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