G-W4CZVV3BP3
top of page
  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

How to undertake your own Trademark Search

Updated: Dec 31


A photo of the dictionary entry "Trademark"

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you have spent countless hours, resources, and money creating a trademark representing your product or service. Protecting your trademark is essential to ensuring your business's continued success, and the best way to do this is through trademark registration. Before registering a trademark, conducting a comprehensive trademark search is essential to ensure that no other business is already using your chosen name or logo. In this guide, we'll go over the process of conducting a trademark search and how to avoid potential legal issues arising from trademark infringement.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase used to represent a brand's identity. Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and grant the owner exclusive rights to use the mark for their product or service. Trademarks are a crucial part of intellectual property law, and failure to properly register and protect your trademark can lead to legal disputes and financial loss.

Why Conduct a Trademark Search?

Conducting a trademark search is essential before registering a trademark to ensure that your chosen name or logo isn't already in use. Writing a trademark already in use can lead to legal disputes, fines, and even the loss of your trademark. A comprehensive trademark search ensures that your chosen name or logo is unique and not infringing on an existing trademark.

Hiring a Trademark Lawyer or Trademark Law Firm

While conducting a trademark search is possible on your own, hiring a trademark lawyer or trademark law firm is highly recommended. A trademark lawyer or law firm specializes in intellectual property law and can provide valuable guidance on the trademark search process. They can help you avoid legal issues, identify trademark infringement issues, and navigate the complex registration process. Additionally, if you cannot search yourself, a trademark lawyer or law firm can perform the search on your behalf.

How to Conduct a Trademark Search

Step 1: Determine the Trademark Classification

Before conducting a trademark search, you must determine the classification of your product or service. The USPTO divides products and services into 45 different classes. Each class covers a specific category of products or services. Identifying the correct class for your product or service is essential because it ensures that you search for trademarks relevant to your industry.

Step 2: Conduct a Preliminary Search

After determining your product or service's classification, the next step is to conduct a preliminary search. This can be done using the USPTO's free online database, the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). The TESS database allows you to search for registered trademarks and pending trademark applications. You can search for trademarks using keywords, phrases, or images. When conducting a preliminary search, it's essential to search for trademarks that are similar to your chosen name or logo. Trademarks that are similar but not identical can still pose a potential infringement issue. Searching for trademarks registered in your product or service's classification is also essential.

Step 3: Conduct a Comprehensive Search

After conducting a preliminary search, the next step is to perform a comprehensive search. A comprehensive search involves a more in-depth review of trademarks similar to your chosen name or logo. This search can be conducted using a professional trademark search company, a trademark attorney, or a trademark law firm.

A comprehensive search will provide a detailed analysis of potential infringement issues. It will also identify trademarks similar to your chosen name or logo but not registered with the USPTO. Identifying unregistered trademarks is essential because the owner of an unregistered trademark can still bring legal action against you if they believe your chosen name or logo infringes on their mark.

Step 4: Analyze the Search Results

After conducting a comprehensive search, the next step is to analyze the search results. If there are no trademark registrations or pending trademark applications similar to your chosen name or logo, you can proceed with registering your trademark.

If there are trademarks that are similar to your chosen name or logo, you should review the results with a trademark attorney or law firm. They can help you determine whether there is a likelihood of confusion between your chosen name or logo and the existing trademark. If there is a likelihood of confusion, you may need to choose a different name or logo to avoid potential legal issues.

Step 5: Register Your Trademark

Once you have completed a comprehensive search and analyzed the results, the final step is registering your trademark with the USPTO. You can file your trademark application online through the USPTO's website. The registration process can be complex. Hiring a trademark lawyer or law firm is highly recommended to ensure the application is filled out correctly and all necessary documentation is provided.

Conclusion

Conducting a trademark search is essential to protecting your brand and ensuring the continued success of your business. While conducting a trademark search on your own is possible, hiring a trademark lawyer or law firm is highly recommended. They can provide valuable guidance on the search process, identify potential infringement issues, and help navigate the complex registration process.

Remember, registering a trademark already in use can lead to legal disputes, fines, and even the loss of your trademark. A comprehensive trademark search ensures that your chosen name or logo is unique and not infringing on an existing trademark. Following the steps outlined in this guide and working with a trusted trademark lawyer or law firm can protect your trademark and avoid potential legal issues.



Spiller Law is an advisor to startup businesses, entertainment and media companies, and artists. Feel free to schedule a free consultation.



 

Spiller Law is a San Francisco business, entertainment, and estate planning law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.

 

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.


 

Spiller Law is a San Francisco business and entertainment law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and throughout California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.

 

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page