The global brands database administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation ('WIPO') has introduced an image based search functionality. The new functionality will allow users to drag, drop or upload trade mark images into the search field and find visually similar trade marks from among 4 million images recorded in the database.  The search will take into account the dimensions, tones, shape and colour of the image it is searching against.

WIPO, who announced the new functionality at the May 2014 International Trademark Association (INTA) annual meeting in Hong Kong, describe the system as "the first such application among free, public intellectual property databases".  The new functionality will supplement the database's existing search criteria and should add an extra level of protection for brand owners developing and introducing new marks.