What you’ll discover:

1. Get a Digital Copy of Your Trademark
2. Begin with a narrow search and then broaden it 3. Monitor Your Results
4. Examine Similar Trademarks

Whether you engage someone to develop a trademark for you or design it yourself, you must ensure that it is distinct. With so many registered trademarks, it might be difficult to design a new one that is genuinely unique. But, being legally unique merely means that your logo, slogan, or brand name is distinct enough from others that buyers can recognize the difference. Here’s how you may go about doing your search.

1. Get a Digital Copy of Your Trademark

You’ll generally be dealing with virtual copies most of the time anyhow, but if you only have a physical copy of your trademark design, scan it to a digital file. Next proceed to the USPTO trademark database, which is also known as the Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS. This database covers all trademarks registered in the United States.

2. Begin with a narrow search and then broaden it.

Begin with a restricted search and progressively extend your scope for the best results. Examine all of the findings to see whether your brand is sufficiently distinct from others on the market. Try similar phrases and variants next. Don’t assume that the way you define your trademark is the only possible way to represent it. The database does have some organic search features, so it will suggest related products to you. Switching to popular synonyms and variants, on the other hand, may help you realize what else is out there.

Note that you must search using both the text and the design. On the USPTO, the terms “design” and “mark” refer to any visual feature that is part of your trademark. A trademark often incorporates both. Coca-Cola, for example, has trademarked both the term Coca-Cola and the distinctive font in which it appears.

3. Monitor Your Progress

Make a record of the phrases you look up and the parts of the TESS you utilize for your trademark search. Depending on how well-known your trademark is, you may face stiff competition. It’s all too simple to miss essential areas of your study or even repeat your own. Since even a simple trademark search might take time, have a spreadsheet or notepad handy to log your findings and make any necessary comments.

4. Examine Similar Trademarks

It is almost certain that you will come across a few trademarks that are comparable to yours. Examine them carefully. Consider if the trademarks are distinct enough that people unfamiliar with either brand might tell the difference. Check to verify whether the identical trademarks are from the same industry. The USPTO is more likely to allow a trademark registration for similar trademarks if they are in different sectors and are unlikely to compete with one another, but even in that case, the trademarks cannot be too similar. Remember that it is simpler to modify your present trademark and re-search than it is to have your application refused, resulting in the loss of the registration cost and the time spent on paperwork. It is not always essential to modify many aspects of a trademark in order for it to be registered; for example, changing the color might suffice.

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