Where To Start With A Trademark Search

Trademark Search

Pop! That little imaginary bulb over your head just lit up. Why – because you just thought of an amazing name for your new product or business that is suitable for it in every possible way. It’s the best name you have come up with so far and you cannot wait to launch your company or product using it.

But first you need to make sure that the name is indeed available, by simply doing a trademark search and go the extra mile to trademark it yourself.

Now why is a trademark search so important? And if it is in fact so crucial, why doesn’t every business go through this process? The fact that this practice is hugely overlooked by many entrepreneurs does not mean it is not an imperative one. As most already know, trademarks provide the major benefit of distinguishing one product or business from those of the competitors. Registering or obtaining trademarks for your business or products offers you eligibility, brand name stability, banking and even consumer protection.

While a lot of people do place importance on trademark registration and protection, they tend to neglect one of the vital phases of it – trademark searching. Trademark searching is essential for any business that seeks to verify if its chosen name conflicts with the names already used or trademarked by other companies. In other words, it helps to spot out the probable risks which are present when deciding on any name.

What happens when you decide not to focus on trademark searching? You face the threat of violating the rights of some other business that can compel you to change your selected name in the future.  And even worse, sue you for a considerable amount of money for copying their trademarked name.

Knowing how to do a trademark search properly is just as important as being aware of how vital a role trademark search plays in your business. So we’re going to list some of the options available to you.

First start by searching online to get an idea of how and where this name is being used. Next move on to searching the registered trademarks under the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you want to do a more advanced search, you can also opt for the available fee-based trademark search engines such as the well-known Thomson’s SAEGIS database. Another option is to search domain names utilized by the Web-based businesses under various registrars. For this, you can acquire a list of domain name registrars from sites such as ICANN.org which is an organization regulating registrations.

Apart from searching for the federally registered trademarks, do remember to run a trademark search in the trademark database of the local state, which often tends to be a part of the Secretary of State’s office. Make sure to go through such databases of every state that you are going to launch your product or business in.

It is also imperative to run a search for unregistered trademarks. This is due to the fact that even the existence of unregistered trademarks alone may hamper your own trademark registration procedure along with the rest of the germane legal issues. Moreover, you obviously do not want to face the allegations of infringing on the trademark rights of another company, particularly the ones registered federally which can cause you to go through considerable compensatory expenses.

Significance lies not only on finding the same as well as similar trademarked names being used by business, but also on screening through that plethora of names and finding out which names you cannot use. As an example, if you want to use a specific name to launch a specific category of products – a name that another company is using for another type of products, completely different from yours – you may be allowed to make use of that name legally. However, this does not apply for identical or similar types of products.

All of the above are great starting points, but, if you wish to be absolutely sure, we recommend you hire an attorney that specializes in trademarking.


Image by: opensource.com

  • Jim

    Great article. Applying for a Trademark does not require an attorney (though using one is helpful), while applying for a Patent does require an attorney. USPTO has determined the “common person” isn’t bright enough to file a Patent, but says okay to personal filings (the process isn’t that difficult – just a bunch of online screens to fill out).
    I have have personally applied for (5) Trademarks in the past couple years, (3) were accepted as “Registered”, (2) were rejected as “too generic a term”.
    The BrandBucket marketplace is terrific! You provide UNIQUE names in the form of a .com domain, which is a key issue you will be faced with applying for a Trademark. Generic “keyword phrase” based names are next to impossible to register unless you have an attorney who is skilled in IP (Intellectual Property) and the inner workings of plugging through the hoops (and sacred definitions) with a patent attorneys at USPTO.
    Thanks again for your insightful posts…