Distinctive design, graphics, logo, symbols, words, or any combination thereof that uniquely identifies a firm and/or its goods or services, guarantees the item’s genuineness, and gives it owner the legal rights to prevent the trademark’s unauthorized use. A trademark must be (1) distinctive instead of descriptive, (2) affixed to the item sold, and (3) registered with the appropriate authority to obtain legal ownership and protection rights. Trademark rights are granted usually for 7 to 20 years and, unlike in case of patents, are renewable indefinitely. These rights are protected worldwide by international intellectual property treaties and may be assigned by their owner to other parties.

Why should we search for Trademark?

The question is often posed by clients in a number of ways. The reason to conduct a trademark search is to help them avoid potential costly headaches and disputes down the road that could have simply been avoided with an investigation on whether the mark was already in use. By conducting a search, you can learn whether there are potential conflicts and registrability issues and strategies with us on how to avoid potential pitfalls.

On a recap, a trademark search will help you:

  1. Prevent you from spending resources and money on a mark that may not be available.
  2. Provide time and flexibility to modify your mark before you launch your product/services.
  3. Help you avoid the costs of businesses disruption associated with forced rebranding.
  4. Help you avoid the cost of litigating disputes.
  5. Provide you an insight on how to brainstorm for a mark mindful of potential registrability concern

The decision to run a search, and which search or searches are best for you, is determined by a host of factors typically centered around your plans for the mark which we will help you assess. A large part of the trademark counseling we provide is to help you explore which search plans works best for you.

How to do a registered Trademark search?

You can check if your Trademark is already registered, free of charge on the U.S.P.T.O website using TESS(Trademark Electronic Search System). If your mark includes a design element, you will have to search it by using a design code. To locate the proper design code, please consult the Design Search Code Manual which is here. You can also conduct a trademark search by visiting the Trademark Public Search Library. Private search firms will conduct searches for a fee. The search firm is often listed in the yellow page section of telephone directories under the heading “Trademark Search Service” or “Patent and Trademark Search Service”.

Expanding your search and getting help

A professionally conducted search can save time and give you a complete result than you might get your own. If your search uncovers a similar trademark registered, it can be hard to know for sure whether the similarity would defeat a trademark application or potentially lead to trademark infringement claim. If you are uncertain, consult a trademark lawyer for advice before you invest time and money in trademarking.

And remember that a USPTO trademark search will only uncover registered trademarks. It won’t find trademarks that have state or common law rights that could impact your ability to use your trademark in a particular locality. A more comprehensive trademark check will help you find these marks and ensure that you can use and protect your trademarks with confidence.