Before you start using any trademarks in your business, you need to know if a exchangeable brand has already been registered to person else .
If it has, you can avoid a bunch of trouble and create a stronger brand by selecting a different brand .
Why a Trademark Lookup Is Important
If you start a business using a trademark that another business has already registered, you wo n’t be able to register that trademark for your clientele. More importantly, you risk being sued for hallmark violation .
A brand misdemeanor claim may mean a lawsuit that will cost tens of thousands of dollars and take months to resolve. Or, to avoid litigation, you may have to change your name ( and your signs, packaging, labels, and web site ) and spend extra money marketing your raw identity. Conducting a brand search before you start your business can help you avoid these expensive and time-consuming problems .
If you plan to apply for brand registration, a file trademark search can increase the find that your application will be granted .
One of the main reasons that applications are denied is a “ likelihood of confusion ” with an existing trademark .
There ‘s a likelihood of confusion if two marks are similar and are used for refer goods and services, such that the public might think that both came from the same informant .
A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ( USPTO ) trademark search will identify similar and confusing marks, giving you a probability to choose a different scar before you spend hundreds of dollars on nonrefundable trademark application fees or thousands of dollars branding your business .
How to Do a Registered Trademark Search
Anyone can search trademarks for free using the USPTO ‘s Trademark Electronic Search System, or TESS. While it ‘s relatively easily to search for direct diagnose matches, brand searches can grow complicated and you may want help to conduct a more exhaustive search .
The function of your search is to excavate marks that are exchangeable to yours and used on relate goods or services.
Marks can be exchangeable without being identical. For example, names may be alike if they look alike or sound alike. The USPTO uses the example of “ T.Markey ” and “ Tee Marquee ” to illustrate alike names. When you check hallmark status, expression for surrogate spellings and give voice endings, ampere well as accurate matches .
It is possible to have identical registered trademarks if the goods and services are unrelated, such as Delta faucets and Delta airlines. Related goods and services are similar or normally sold together, such as clothing and shoes, or coffee and donuts. therefore, when you find a alike commemorate, you must besides check to see if it has been registered for a relate character of goods or services .
Conducting a Trademark Check
To search the USPTO ‘s trademark database, go to TESS and choose a search choice. If you are searching for a appoint, you can use the trademark identify search. If you are searching a design mark, such as a logo, you will first need to look up your purpose code using the USPTO ‘s Design Search Code Manual .
A TESS name search allows you to look for plurals. however, the search will not mechanically find words that sound like your brand but are spelled differently. This means that in rate to find similar marks, you will need to conduct multiple searches using as many variations on your name as you can come up with. You can search for the accurate appoint, or for any hallmark that contains the words in your name .
Each meter you search trademarks, review the results for marks that are the same as or exchangeable to yours. Make a tilt of the similar or identical marks, along with information about the types of goods or services they are registered for .
then take note of any of the similar marks that are registered for goods or services that are alike to yours. Consult the USPOs on-line Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual for information about how to describe goods or services and the international hallmark class they fall into. This can help you identify what types of goods or services are most closely related to yours .
Expanding Your Search and Getting Help
Searching for accurate brand matches is fairly easy, but uncovering spelling and name variations can be much harder. Design searches besides can be challenging.
A professionally conducted search can save time and can give you more complete results than you might get on your own .
If your search uncovers a similar register brand, it can be hard to know for surely whether the similarity would defeat a hallmark application or potentially jumper cable to a brand misdemeanor 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 wo n’t find trademarks that have state or common law rights that could impact your ability to use your hallmark in a particular vicinity. A more comprehensive examination trademark check will help you find these marks and ensure that you can use and protect your trademarks with assurance .