Trademark FAQs Trademark Articles Trademark Services
Home » Trademark Articles
Trademark Search Options - Free Trademark Search Online or a Federal Trademark SearchA trademark name search should be undertaken before one considers filing a trademark application. A trademark search determines two related issues of great import, will your trademark infringe upon another's trademark and could your trademark application become a trademark registration.
Because trademark rights are granted to the first party to use that trademark, a company providing a similar product and using a similar trademark has superior trademark rights over you. Thus, they could potentially sue you for trademark infringement or if they own a trademark registration, their trademark could be a block to your trademark being granted a trademark registration. A trademark search examines several databases and can either "clear" a trademark for adoption or find that there are great risks involved with using that trademark.
Free Trademark Search Online
While only a trademark attorney experienced with the nuances of trademark law can "clear" a trademark, you can utilize a free trademark search online to rule out potential trademarks as too risky. Google and other Internet search engines are good starting points, for you should type in your trademark and a product description and see if you find any companies using your proposed trademark to market similar goods. If you do find this, best to reconsider your trademark and perhaps choose another name. If this limited trademark search finds nothing of concern, type in the trademark alone and inspect those trademark search results as well.
The most commonly used free trademark search online is the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) offered by the USPTO. TESS allows for a US trademark search, but has many searching strategies best utilized by a trademark attorney expert in trademark services. Note that just because there is not a trademark that is an exact match, you can still infringe upon another's trademark. For example, courts have held that "CYCLONE" was infringed by "TORNADO" when both trademarks were used to market chain-link fences. Thus, while you can use the free trademark search online to determine what trademarks not to adopt, you need a trademark attorney to review a federal trademark search to "clear" a mark.
A Federal Trademark Search (or US Trademark Search)
A US trademark search is professionally prepared by a trademark search company. This trademark search is comprehensive and allows a trademark attorney to provide detailed analysis regarding the likelihood of your trademark application maturing into a trademark registration.
The cost of a trademark name search is small in comparison to the benefit of knowing your trademark is safe to use and you will likely receive the many trademark registration benefits.