Learn how to do an online trademark search utilizing search engines and the USPTO’s TESS system.
While developing a new brand, product, or business, it is essential to have a distinct name or mark in order to successfully advertise your goods. You should also be aware of trademark laws from a legal standpoint. If you pick a mark that is already in use by someone else, you risk being sued for trademark infringement. Choose a mark that is not confusingly similar to an existing mark, since this might also be grounds for trademark infringement.
So, where do you begin when doing a trademark search? You may believe that you should go online right away and look for registered trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This would provide you with information on which trademarks have been registered as well as information on pending trademark applications. What complicates a trademark search is that rights to a mark may be established by authorized use of the mark, which means that some valid trademarks are not registered with the USPTO.
While checking for registered trademarks is critical, the first step is to do some web research. Utilize a search engine such as Google or Yahoo to look for firms with names similar to the one you’re looking for. If someone else is utilizing your trademark, you should carefully consider changing it. In addition, look for firms or items that are comparable to your proposed mark. Check for your mark in the plural, with the words rearranged in a different sequence, and so on. If there is a similar but not identical mark, you may still be secure if the product is entirely distinct from yours or if they cannot be mistaken. Nonetheless, use caution. If there is a mark that may be mistaken with yours, think about it carefully before investing in product marketing or branding activities.
When you’ve done a comprehensive web search and determined that no one else is using your mark, you should go through existing trademarks and trademark applications. Go to the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and choose the “New User Form Search Basic” option. When searching TESS, use the same criteria you used in your last online search: check to see whether the precise mark has already been registered, and seek for variants on the mark. Be thorough and experiment with various search methods. Since the aim is to discover nothing — you can never search enough to assure that your mark is unique.
Consultation with a lawyer is not required when choosing or registering your mark, although it is a good idea. You’ve invested time, money, and your reputation in your brand, and you don’t want to risk losing it due to a trademark infringement. A trademark lawyer can assist you in determining if other trademarks are confusingly similar, doing a trademark search, and registering the trademark with the USPTO.