How to Do a Free Trademark SearchHow to Do a Free Trademark Search
One of the main reasons to do a free trademark search is to find if anyone else already has trademarked your intended trademark. That's because once a trademark application is filed and approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the US government will not register the same trademark again.After you file your application the USPTO will search their records looking for reasons to reject your application. Since the USPTO doesn't refund any fees you can save yourself money and time by doing a trademark search before filing your application.Search for a Trademark On LineThere are a number of ways that you can do a free trademark search. One of them is by going online in order to find both registered trademarks as well as pending trademark applications. You can search for trademarks that are registered in the United States at the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) website.Do a Free Trademark Search In PersonAlternatively, you can visit o a Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) and do your search in person. Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries are located in each of the fifty states.Does Your Trademark Include Graphics?If your trademark includes graphic design elements then you will also have to search for it using a design code. In order to find the proper design code or codes you will have to consult the Design Search Code Manual, which you will be able to find at the USPTO website.Search for Conflicting MarksNext you will need to check the current status of any trademarks that can potentially conflict with either your application or your registration with the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) system, which you can also find at the USPTO.However, even you do don't find the mark present in the database you should still do a common law search. That's because not being in the database doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't being used currently as a trademark.A Brief Overview of a Common Law SearchIn order to do a common law search for trademarks you will have to go beyond any government records. This could involve checking yellow pages, phone directories, state trademark registers, industrial directories, the World Wide Web, and more. The purpose of doing a common law search is to find out if a trademark is already being used by someone else who has not necessarily filed for their federal trademark registration.The reason you need to do this is because federal registration isn't required in order to establish trademark rights. Common law rights result from actually using a trademark.For the most part, the first person or company that uses a trademark in commerce or files an application with the USPTO on the Internet will ultimately have the right to use that trademark and its registration.