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How to do a Trademark Search

Has anyone else used your current or intended logo?

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One purpose of a trademark search is to determine if someone has already trademarked your intended mark.

They Won't Register The Same Mark Twice

After a trademark application is filed, the USPTO will conduct a trademark search of their records as part of the examination process. However, the USPTO's trademark search is not done for your benefit, they are looking for a reason to reject your application. To save yourself time and expense, do a trademark search before filing your application. The USPTO does not refund fees.

You Can Do A Trademark Search Online

You can do a trademark search online and find pending trademark applications and registered trademarks. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to search for trademarks registered in the United States.

Visit The Library

You can trademark search in person at any Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL). PTDLs are located in every state and you can use their search facilities.

Searching For Graphic Marks

If your mark includes a visual design element, you will need to search for it by using a design code. To locate the proper design code(s), consult the Design Search Code Manual.

Conflicting Marks

Check the current status of any potentially conflicting application or registration with the TARR system. The fact that a mark is not present in the database does not necessarily mean that the mark is not currently being used as a trademark. You might have to do a common law search to find it.

Common Law Search

A common law search for trademarks involves searching beyond government records. It can involve checking phone directories, yellow pages, industrial directories, state trademark registers, the Internet, and more. The purpose of a common law search is to determine if a mark is being used by others when they have not filed for federal trademark registration.

Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark. Generally, the first to either use a mark in commerce or file an intent to use application with the USPTO has the ultimate right to use and registration.

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