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Phonetic lists of trademarks

The roots of SMD lie in the early years of the 20th century in the law office of patent agent and later patent attorney Ernst Utescher.
In 1894, the German patent office (Reichspatentamt) had just begun registering trademarks.
Their number grew rapidly, though, and so Ernst Utescher took upon him the task of filing the registered trademarks phonetically, by prefix, suffix and syllables, device marks by motive groups.
The numerous publications by the Reichspatentamt were also kept up to date concerning change of ownership, of address and of goods covered.
Ernst Utescher's law office used the phonetic lists with the original publications for their trademark cases. The archive was also made available to colleagues on occasion.

Founding of company and first rationalization

In 1949, with the goal of making the archive available to an even greater group, the independent "Schutz Marken Dienst Archivgesellschaft mbH Hamburg" was founded in co-operation with the bar of patent and law attorneys and the brand product industry. Soon, plans were made to rationalize the strictly manual phonetic list search. Means for this rationalization was the Hollerith punch card, thus far only used for statistical analysis in shoe stores. Combining the "electronic punch card classification machine" with the phonetic lists, Ernst August Utescher created the patented "technically advanced classification research method" for "finding similarity between trademarks", a novelty in research methods. This method enabled Schutz Marken Dienst even at that time to conduct efficient trademark searches and watches.

Growing number of trademarks

But the number of trademarks outgrew even the advanced and efficient punch card method. The storage room for the punch cards together with the sorting machines for the search branch alone took about 200 square meters. Additional space was needed for the punch cards of the watch area and other trademark directories. The handling of the punch cards also called for a better solution: For a typical similarity search, thousands of punch cards had to be brought to the machine and back to the cabinets. The automatically chosen punch cards were chosen automatically. Afterwards they had to be selected manually once more and had to be looked up in the trademark publications to compile the search result list.

Use of magnetic disks

The first solution to this problem was the use of magnetic disks instead of punch cards in 1972. This new system didn't allow electronic searches yet, but at least it solved the space problem, because the disks took up much less space than the punch cards. The manual selection was now possible from a terminal, too. In 1990, the device marks, too, moved to magnetic disks. This way they could from the terminal, too.

First Electronic Searching

Finally, in 1993, the search process became electronic. The word- and device marks were categorized with search words and could now be pre-selected electronically. The final selection, however, was and is still done manually at computer terminals by especially trained staff, ensuring a flexible, individual and accurate search result. For the complete transition to the electronic system there remained one last thing to do, though. All trademark information had to be made available for use from the computer terminals. In 1993, in cooperation with the German Patent and Trademark Office and the Wila Verlag, a major project was undertaken to scan all previously published German trademarks. First they were with picture and text recognition software and later manually. This process lasted from 1993 to 1995 and involved highly advanced computer hardware and software. So the archiving system was completed.

Internationalization and line extension

Through the years, the range of services has been steadily increased. Through the Internet, we offer direct access to the databases with the possibility of conducting one's own searches with our search products. Our searching and monitoring services have been extended to cover company names, titles, patents, utility models, industrial designs and domain names as well. Nowadays, as SMD Group, we provide clients from all over the world with our services.