A trademark is a unique symbol, word, or phrase used to distinguish the goods and services of one company from those of another. Registering a trademark can provide legal protection and prevent others from using your brand identity. Before you register a trademark, it is important to conduct a trademark search to make sure that your desired trademark is available and not already registered by another company. In this blog, we will discuss how to conduct a trademark search for free.
A trademark search is a crucial step in the process of registering a trademark. It is a process of searching and analyzing existing trademarks to determine if a proposed trademark is available for use and registration. A thorough analysis can help to avoid potential legal disputes and infringement claims that may arise if a proposed trademark is similar to an existing one.
The trademark search process typically involves the following steps:
1. Identifying the trademark to be searched:-
This involves determining the proposed trademark and the goods or services it will be used to identify.
2. Identifying the search criteria:-
This involves determining the search parameters, including the type of search to be conducted, the jurisdictions to be searched, and the keywords or phrases to be used in the search.
3. Conducting the search:-
This involves searching various databases, including the USPTO database, state trademark databases, and domain name databases, to identify existing trademarks that may conflict with the proposed trademark.
4. Analyzing the results:-
This involves reviewing the search results to identify any potential conflicts and determining the strength and distinctiveness of the proposed trademark.
5. Reporting the results:-
This involves providing a report to the business or individual conducting the trademark search, outlining the search results and any potential issues that may arise.
Why trademark search is done?
Trademark search is done to ensure that a proposed trademark is available for use and registration. Conducting it helps to identify existing trademarks that may conflict with the proposed trademark. By identifying potential conflicts before filing for registration, a trademark search can help to avoid legal disputes and infringement claims.
When a business or individual wishes to use a trademark, they must ensure that the proposed trademark does not infringe upon the rights of existing trademarks. Infringement occurs when a trademark is used in a way that is likely to cause confusion or deception among consumers, leading them to believe that the goods or services are associated with another company.
A trademark search helps to identify existing trademarks that may be similar to the proposed trademark. This includes searching through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, as well as state trademark databases, common law trademarks, and domain names. By identifying potential conflicts, a business or individual can avoid investing time and resources into a trademark that may be challenged or infringe upon the rights of another trademark owner.
In addition, conducting a trademark search can also help to identify potential issues with the proposed trademark’s strength and distinctiveness. This can help a business or individual to refine their proposed trademark to ensure it is unique, memorable, and easily identifiable to consumers.
Overall, conducting it is an important step in the process of selecting and registering a trademark. It can help to identify potential conflicts, avoid legal disputes and infringement claims, and ensure that a proposed trademark is strong and distinctive.
Trademark searches for free
Start with the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers a free online database called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) where you can search for registered trademarks and pending trademark applications. You can access TESS on the USPTO’s website and conduct a basic or advanced search based on the name, word, or phrase you want to trademark. The results will show you whether there are any identical or similar trademarks that may conflict with your desired trademark.
Another free and easy way to conduct a trademark search is to use Google. Simply enter the name, word, or phrase you want to trademark into the search bar and see if any businesses or products appear with the same or similar name. This will give you an idea of whether your desired trademark is already in use or not.
Check state trademark databases
In addition to the USPTO’s database, each state may have its own trademark database. You can check with your state’s Secretary of State office or trademark office to see if they have a database available. If your business operates within a specific state, it is especially important to check the state trademark database as it may reveal conflicts that do not appear in the USPTO’s database.
Check domain name availability
Another way to check if your desired trademark is available is to see if the domain name is available. You can check domain name availability using websites such as GoDaddy or Namecheap. If the domain name is already taken, it may be an indication that someone else is using the same or a similar name in their business.
Check social media handles
Finally, it’s important to check social media handles for the name or phrase you want to trademark. This will give you an idea of whether the name or phrase is being used by other businesses or individuals on social media platforms. You can search for social media handles using sites such as KnowEm or Namechk.
Cost associated with trademark searches
The charges for trademark searches can vary depending on the type of search, the resources used, and the professional conducting the search. Here are some of the common types of trademark searches and their associated costs:
A knockout search is a preliminary search that involves searching for identical or similar marks that may conflict with the proposed trademark. It is a quick and inexpensive way to identify any potential issues before proceeding with a more comprehensive search. The cost for a knockout search can range from free to a few hundred dollars, depending on the resources used and the professional conducting the search.
A comprehensive search involves a more thorough examination of trademarks, including registered and pending trademarks, common law trademarks, and domain names. It can help to identify potential issues with the strength and distinctiveness of the proposed trademark, as well as potential conflicts. The cost for a comprehensive search can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the resources used and the professional conducting the search.
An international search involves searching for existing trademarks in multiple countries to ensure that the proposed trademark is available for use and registration in those countries. The cost for an international search can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the number of countries searched and the resources used.
Professional trademark search services
Many professional trademark search services are available to assist businesses with conducting trademark searches. The cost for these services can vary depending on the type of search, the resources used, and the scope of the project. Some professional search services may charge an hourly rate, while others may offer a flat fee for specific types of searches.
It is important to note that the cost of a trademark search is relatively small compared to the potential costs of a legal dispute or infringement claim. By investing in a comprehensive trademark search, businesses can ensure that their proposed trademark is available for use and registration, and avoid potential legal issues and costs in the future.
In conclusion, conducting a trademark search is an important step in the trademark registration process. By using the USPTO’s TESS database, Google, state trademark databases, domain name availability, and social media handles, you can conduct a comprehensive trademark search for free. If you find that your desired trademark is already in use, it’s best to come up with a new name or phrase to avoid any potential conflicts.
Read our Article: Tips For Conducting A Comprehensive Trademark Search