Conquering Likelihood of Confusion in Pharmaceutical Trademarks

  • Trademark Clearance
Conquering Likelihood of Confusion in Pharmaceutical Trademarks

For pharmaceutical companies, name confusion is a critical risk to consumers and patients. And with name saturation increasing, the likelihood of confusion continues to grow.

Name saturation is an existential challenge for every industry that harnesses trademark law to protect its brand. As more and more names are registered, fewer are available for use. And finding that perfect name that communicates your product and values and is protectable becomes more elusive. Read on as we explore how you can conquer the likelihood of confusion in your pharmaceutical trademarks.

Using non-conventional trademarks to overcome name saturation 

As a general rule, there are some solutions to name saturation. You can invest heavily in creativity and originality to find something truly unique. You can explore what are known as non-conventional trademarks — sounds, colors, smells — to convey your brand messaging. Or you can find an acceptable ‘likelihood of confusion’ risk level for your business as part of your strategy.  

But what do you do when your industry’s regulatory and other restrictions further bind you? 

Risks associated with consumer confusion 

Likelihood of confusion in the pharmaceutical industry carries risks not only for the company but also for their consumers. When your product is potentially life or health-saving medication, confusion becomes an unacceptable risk, and the price is increasing.  

The branding work that pharmaceutical companies are doing to mitigate risks of confusion is critically important and is paying off. A study published in 2018 found that overall incidents of drug name confusion of all types had decreased when comparing two periods, 2000-2004 and 2012-20161. However, there was also an unaccounted reduction in reporting frequency for those years. 

A key difference arises, however, when comparing brand name and generic name confusion. Brand name confusion (confusion between two named brands) is decreasing while incidents of generic name confusion are on the rise. 

How pharmaceutical companies are keeping consumers safe  

The reduction in brand name confusion is a positive and points to the work that pharmaceutical companies and the trademark industry are doing to keep consumers safe. That said, as the market becomes more congested, that work becomes more and more challenging to maintain and improve. Further innovation is continuously needed, and to that end, Corsearch has invested in bringing not only best-in-class expertise and technology to the sector but also a new data source that will assist pharmaceutical branding projects in ruling out potentially confusing names much earlier in the process.  

With 1 in every 1,000 drug orders in healthcare settings and in-pharmacy prescriptions associated with dispensing the incorrect drug, there is still much to be done to improve that figure. The primary cause of these errors cited are drug name similarities, and Corsearch is partnered with the best pharmaceutical companies in the world to minimize and reduce drug name confusion.  

Case study: how Lundbeck clears & protects new pharmaceutical trademarks

For Lundbeck’s Global Director of Trademarks, Kristiane Vandborg, clearing and protecting the company’s intellectual property are long-term projects.  

“It can take 10 to 15 years from the discovery of a drug to its launch, but even during early phases we need Corsearch to be searching and clearing names for those new drugs. Most products take a very long time and are very expensive. It costs billions to develop a new product and many, many products fail before they even reach phase two or three.” 

Read the Lundbeck story >

Talk to a pharma expert

Over 5,000 customers trust Corsearch to help establish, monitor, and protect their brands. Learn how Corsearch can help you prevent consumer confusion through our pharma trademark solutions.