As a business owner, you want to ensure that your brand name is legally secure. To do this, it is important to know what trademarks are similar to yours and if they have already been trademarked. While searching for similar trademarks can be a daunting task, there are ways to simplify the process.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or other symbol that represents an organization or product. It distinguishes services or goods of one company from those of another. A trademark search helps you determine if someone has already registered the same mark as yours so that you do not infringe on their rights.
Doing a Trademark Search
You can start the trademark search process by using the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). This system allows users to search by keyword and category in order to find existing marks that may be similar to theirs. The TESS database includes all active, pending, and expired trademarks in the United States since 1884. Once you have narrowed down your search results with TESS, you should also perform an internet search for additional information about the mark in question. This can help provide further clarity on whether or not it is too similar to yours. You should also use paid for online databases like TMTKO, Coresearch, Huski.ai, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters Westlaw Edge which have extensive collections of trademark records that can help you determine the similarity of two marks more accurately than just using TESS alone.
Additionally, if your company does business internationally, it’s important to check with each individual country’s intellectual property office before using or applying to register any marks overseas. You may also consider hiring an experienced IP lawyer who can walk you through the entire process and ensure that all legal steps have been taken properly when searching for similar trademarks abroad.
Don’t Skip an Initial Search!
Protecting your brand is just as important as creating it – so make sure you do your due diligence before applying for a federal trademark registration! By taking some time upfront to conduct comprehensive searches, along with consulting knowledgeable professionals when needed – you can ensure that no one else has already claimed what should be rightfully yours. If you have questions or need assistance conducting a trademark search, our intellectual property attorneys are here to help. Simply contact us at (888) 666-0062 or click here to schedule an Initial Discovery Session.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.