Online trademark broker set to go live

International

The Trademark Catalogue, an online brokerage service, is set to go live on January 18 2004.
The information currently available suggests that it will broker the sale and/or purchase of registered or pending trademark applications, domain names and designs from various jurisdictions worldwide. The company will also broker the sale and/or purchase of any rights and interests that an owner has developed in the commercial exploitation of a mark, namely, packaging designs, marketing materials and the owner's entire business that relates to use of a trademark.

An interested purchaser may review the registrations currently for sale by choosing a specific international classification of interest. Once several potential registrations are saved to the purchaser's short list, the purchaser must become a registered user of The Trademark Catalogue and submit a statement of interest, which will initiate the purchase process.

The website will mainly act as a broker and requires the purchaser to employ local trademark counsel to negotiate the transfer of the trademark on the purchaser's behalf. The company's website specifically states:

"[t]rademarks may be or become highly valuable assets and should be handled with care. In order to protect the interests of buyers and sellers alike, we make it a rule that you may not sell or buy a trademark through our site unless you have retained the services of a trademark professional or have those skills in-house - our Directory of Service Partners lists trademark professionals from around the world."

This service may be particularly beneficial for potential purchasers who have not yet begun the searching process for a new mark. However, it remains to be seen how these services will affect the way international trademark owners and buyers do business. Given the difficulties involved in clearing new marks, the website may prove to be a useful tool for companies looking for a new mark with few problems. It will also be interesting to see if the website expands into licensing.

Dana Breitman, Goodwin Procter LLP, New York

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