What is 'trademark search'?
A trademark search is a search of various databases for
the purpose of identifying identical or potentially
similar trademarks, their status, and their owners. The reliability of the
depends on the number and the quality of the databases
searched, and on the search techniques used (wild cards,
Boolean operators, phonetic searches, etc).
I need a trademark search?
For most businesses, whether they are
for-profit or non-profit, the answer is yes. It is wise
to decide to invest in a business name, product or service name (or logo) only after you
have a comfortable degree of certainty that the name or
the logo is yours. Or at least, you should know the
trademark risk you assume, before spending money and
other resources in promoting the respective name or
A good analogy can be found in the
construction field: you would not want to build your
house on an untested ground. Would you? The risk you
would take would be directly proportional with the value
of the house you want to build. Similarly, the more
serious/valuable the business you want to build is, the
higher is the risk you take if you do not make/order a
What is 'trademark risk'?
Trademark risk is the risk that
someone else can claim rights in your trademark, or even
worse, that someone else can claim superior rights to
yours. If someone else can claim rights in your
trademark, obviously your trademark is a weak mark.
Furthermore, if someone else has begun using the
trademark before you did, he is a senior user, and
therefore, he may have superior rights in the trademark.
A senior user may force you to stop using the trademark,
and may sue you for trademark infringement. This is
especially true when the senior user has the financial
means to do so (e.g., a large corporation, etc).
Obviously, the more extensive your
trademark search is, the more revealing the search
results are, and therefore, the less is the trademark
risk you take. For example, if you make/order
a federal search, you decrease the risk that the USPTO
will deny registration of your trademark, and therefore,
you decrease the risk of loosing the filing fee ($325)
and other expenses; you also decrease the risk that you
will infringe someone else's rights in a federally
registered trademark. However, you are still exposed to the
risk that someone else is already using the same or a
similar mark, and did not register it with the USPTO.
This could be a serious problem, especially when that
someone is a senior user. This is because in United
States rights in a trademark may be acquired by use of
the trademark in commerce, and registration generally
only adds to those rights. This problem can be
addressed, and the trademark risk further reduced, with
a comprehensive search which includes the federal, the
state (50), the common law, and the domain names search.
much does it cost to order a trademark search?
LegalArrow« can perform a
federal trademark search for $89, and a comprehensive
search for $269. The cost is smaller when a search
service is combined with a registration service.
our packages for details.
When should I order a trademark search?
Ideally, you should do a trademark
search before you start your business, and before you
launch a new product or service. And once you determine
that the trademark is available, you should immediately
I do a trademark search on my own?
Unless you are familiar with search
techniques (wild cards, etc), and you know how to access
and use the appropriate databases, the answer most
experts would agree with is no. However, you should
always do some preliminary investigation, at least by
simply making a search in Google, to see what comes up.
The preliminary investigation you make reduces the risk
that you pay for a professional search only to find out
that the trademark is not available.
What is a 'word' trademark search?
A 'word' trademark search involves
searches for business name, product or service name, or
slogan, as they appear in standard characters; no
special fonts, no colors, or design is part of the
trademark. Example: 'flexone'.
What is a 'design' trademark search?
A 'design' trademark search involves a
design, logo, or word mark with special fonts, and or
colors. Example: FlexOne.
What is a 'direct conflict' trademark search?
A 'direct conflict' search is
a preliminary search intended to uncover only
identical word trademarks previously
registered with USPTO. No wild cards or other
search techniques are used. It has the benefit of
avoiding an almost certain denial of the
registration by the USPTO, and the money loss that comes with
it. However, in order to substantially decrease the risk of having
the registration denied by the USPTO because of
conflict with similar trademarks, a
federal trademark search is
required to uncover potentially similar marks
prior to filing.
What is a 'federal' trademark search?
A 'federal' trademark search is made
for the purpose of uncovering not only identical, but
also similar word trademarks already filed for or
registered with USPTO. Wild cards, Boolean operators,
and/or other search techniques are used to achieve this
goal. The search
substantially decreases the risk that the trademark
registration will be denied by USPTO because of conflicts
with similar trademarks already applied for,
or registered with the USPTO. A rejection by the USPTO
would mean loss of time and money, including the filing
is a 'state' trademark
A 'state' trademark search is made for
the purpose of revealing any identical or similar word
trademarks previously registered at state level. The
comprehensive search done by
LegalArrow« includes a
search of the trademark databases of all 50 states.
What is a 'common law' trademark search?
A 'common law' trademark entails the
exploration of several common law databases
like: IRS Cumulative List of Organizations,
InfoBase Telephone Directories, Gale Group Data
Sources, Dun & Bradstreet, and/or other similar
databases. This search has the purposes of
uncovering identical or similar trademarks others are
using without registering them at state or federal
level. Simply because of use, the users of these
trademarks may have common law rights in these
trademarks; from there the name 'common law' search.
What is a 'domain names' trademark search?
search includes a search of the most popular domain
names (.com, .net, .org). While a registrant of a domain
name may not necessarily have trademark rights in that
name, you may want to know if the domain name is
available. Furthermore, if that domain name is also used
as a trademark, conflicts may arise and you want to know
about them before you commit to a trademark.
What is an 'international' trademark search?
can also make a search for trademarks registered
internationally. It includes the following countries and
organizations: Canada, World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO),
European Community (EC), Germany (DE), and the United
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