The Evolution of Trademark Research and Brand Protection Industry

by Kristina Scheurle on March 11, 2014

I recently talked with Josh Braunstein, Vice President and General Manager at Wolters Kluwer, to discuss the challenges facing brand research. Braunstein started his career at Corsearch as a Researcher, which gives him a unique perspective on how search strategies and practices have changed over the years to accommodate the growing quantity of sources. “When I started as a researcher back in the 90s,” said Braunstein, “a lot of what we did was manual querying: making sure that we were finding the best results, going through hard bound sources . . . magazines . . . CD-ROMs, and . . . online sources to try to amass that wealth of information we needed to make good decisions.”

One of the biggest issues facing researchers today is information overload. When a brand owner orders a search on a mark such as “SMART” relating to a new mobile application, a researcher may encounter more than 5,000 hits in the U.S. Federal jurisdiction alone. How can a search be narrowed? How does a researcher decide what information is most important to companies and their brands?

As a researcher, the difficulty is not in finding information, but in finding the right information. Braunstein noted that trademark practitioners at companies and law firms really want “thoughtful responses to their challenges in the brand industry,” not just simple “data dumps” that may not provide the most helpful or relevant information. Based on his observations, “the real challenge is finding that diamond in the rough; finding that piece of information that’s most important and actionable for our customers.”

For Corsearch, this means putting an emphasis on training and customer service. When researchers are equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of the industry, they are better able to make smart decisions when faced with thousands of data hits. Braunstein said, “Our researchers get months and months of training and then continuing education.” This “best in class training program” is one of the methods differentiating Corsearch as a quality trademark research provider.

Providing the best search results means understanding each client’s specific needs, especially in an industry where our customers “know what to expect, they know where the risks lie, and they challenge service companies like ours to make sure that we’re providing the best value to them.”

Ultimately, Braunstein explains that innovation plays an extremely important role in providing successful research results. “We work closely with our customers to identify how we can best meet their needs by creating workflow and reviewing tools that help them do more with less. Better efficiency, better quality and better effectiveness in the workflows we give them. This all comes down to innovation: how we present our records, how we present our workflow tools, and how we let them access and report on information in our platform.”

Going forward, specialized solutions will continue to be important, which is why Corsearch continues to develop different types of searches catered to specific industries, such as a Pharmaceutical search, Entertainment Availability or Cross Market Knock Out (CMKO). Braunstein envisions a better, more informed future for brand protection: “In a good way, I think that content is going to continue to expand, there are going to be more places for brands to exploit, leverage, or face challenges to their brand equity.”

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