How to Check if a Trademark Is Already Registered

The USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System or TESS is a public information platform to track the status of registered trademarks. These resources are free to the public. There are 45 trademark classes which are divided into two categories i.e. Goods & Services. While it is exceedingly easy to search through direct name matches, trademark searches can become complex and you could need assistance to conduct thorough research.

Marks can be similar without being the same. For example, names can be comparable in the event that they look alike or sound alike. To provide a clearer picture, the famous case law which can be quoted here is the trademark controversy between Starbucks and Sattar Baksh. When you check trademark status, search for different spellings, word endings, and exact matches.

However, it is viable to have similar registered logos if the products and services are unrelated, which includes Indigo spices and Indigo Airlines. Related items and offerings are comparable or generally offered together, which include clothes and shoes, or espresso and donuts. Therefore, whilst you discover a comparable mark, you need to additionally take a look if it’s been registered for a related type of goods and services.

Conducting a Trademark Check

To search the USPTO’s trademark database, go to TESS and click on the search option. You can search through either name or logo. If you’re trying to search through names, you can use trademark name search. If you’re looking through logo marks, you first need to search through design code by using USPTO’s Design Search Code Manual.

A TESS name search permits you to search for plurals. However, the search will not robotically locate words that sound like your trademark but are spelled differently. So to locate similar marks, you may have to streamline a couple of searches, the use of as many versions in your name as you can come up with. You can look for the exact name, or for any trademark that carries the words on your name.

Each time you search for trademarks, review similar results and make a listing of similar marks and diligently go through the products and services they have mentioned in the information section. 

Take note of registered trademarks that offer similar goods or services as yours, Consult the USPOs online Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual and analyze how to describe goods and services and the international trademarks they fall into. This will help to identify which type of goods and services are closely related to your goods or services.

Expanding Your Search and Getting Help

Searching for exact same trademark fit is easy but uncovering spelling and name versions can be a lot harder. Design searches additionally may be challenging. A professionally carried out search can save time and might provide you reliable results than you may get on your own.

If your search uncovers a comparable registered trademark, it may be tough to understand whether or not the similarity might defeat the trademark application or will result in an infringement claim. If you’re uncertain, seek advice from a trademark lawyer before investing your time and money in trademarking.

And don’t forget that a USPTO trademark search will only display registered trademarks. Trademarks that have state rights that could restrict you to use your trademark in a particular area/locality are not searchable through USPTO search. A comprehensive check will help you find these trademarks and will ensure that you can use and protect your mark with confidence without attracting any claims.

It is also significant to remember that TESS contains inactive registrations and applications. Registrations that have not been used in five years or more and against which no current legal action has been brought are considered inactive. An application should be submitted to revive an inactive mark if someone wants to use it.

You might further want to look into the availability of a trademark after running a search through TESS and the Patent and Trademark Resource Center. This can be done by looking up common law trademarks in state trademark registers and online directories.

If you are looking for any help related to trademarks. Get in touch with us today!

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