Updated: Oct 25, 2021
A trademark search is a pre-filing risk analysis of your trademark in a particular country. Before filing, a wise first step would be to conduct a federal trademark search at the USPTO, covering the class(es) and goods or services of interest to you, so you can be confident that no similar marks have already been applied for or registered at the USPTO.
A full search requires substantial trademark expertise because it includes:
for standard character marks (or word elements in a composite mark) - looking for possible phonetic or spelling variations, breaking down the word mark element by element, analyzing possible ambiguous or alternative readings and possible similarities in sound, sight, meaning, or connotation;
for logos (or logo elements in a composite mark) - searching according to a complex set of design codes used by the USPTO; and
for all marks, an assessment of whether the USPTO may refuse to register the mark because it is a generic term is merely descriptive, is primarily geographically descriptive, is primarily merely a surname, or is deceptively misdescriptive, to name a few.
With a trademark search, you will:
know if your trademark is available for registration, that is, whether any third party has filed an identical or similar conflicting trademark. This is determined by comparing your trademark, goods/services with the earlier-filed trademarks. The search results will assess your level of risk.
know if your trademark is inherently registrable, that is, whether it functions as a trademark or source of origin. This is determined by assessing whether your trademark is merely descriptive of your goods/services, is principally a surname or a geographical location, or would be regarded as deceptive.
save on wasted filing fees if the results are not clear and consider other options like rebranding.
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We understand that filing and registering a trademark in the United States can be daunting if you are not fully apprised on the process and requirements. Before taking the right steps, you might have a lot of questions because the idea of a trademark is to protect your business interest as well as maximize your revenue.
If you would like to know more about registering your trademark in the US, including searching for a trademark or responding to USPTO Office Actions, and would like us to help you, click here to write to us for a fee quote or schedule a short call with one of our trademark attorneys.
For small businesses and startups, we offer special consultation rates. Get in touch with us today!