importance of a trademark search

Although there are many reasons to conduct a trademark search, the two main purposes are to ensure the availability of a trademark and to avoid unintentional infringement of another trademark. However, many companies and individuals may not be aware of the various factors involved in a trademark search that can impact their product or business. That is why the post below will review the importance of a trademark search and what this process involves. 

What Is a Trademark Search? 

A trademark search refers to any action taken to determine whether a trademark is used in commerce. These searches can be narrow in scope or include incredibly detailed information. 

A basic trademark search will typically reveal if the proposed trademark is in use on the internet. It will also indicate if the trademark is associated with a specific product or service. Yet, even with these basic searches, individuals can discover substantial information about the trademark. However, conducting a thorough search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records will enable individuals and organizations to determine the availability of the trademark they intend to use or if the mark or brand has already been claimed by someone else. Furthermore, a comprehensive trademark search can also provide the following details:

  • Analyst reviews
  • Pending trademarks 
  • Trademarks that have been federally registered
  • Business reports
  • Federal and state trademark reports
  • Citations
  • Common law database reports

A comprehensive search is crucial for all types of entities. This is because selecting the proper name or trademark can make all the difference in a company’s success. As a result, a business that wants to protect its name and establish exclusivity for its products and services may want to consider performing a comprehensive trademark search before registering a trademark or brand. 

The Different Trademark Searches

Companies can use various types of trademark searches to verify their trademarks and brands, including the following:

A Common Law Trademark Search

A common law trademark search identifies unregistered trademarks and branding that may have been used in the past but are not currently registered. It is important to understand that these trademarks can still hold rights and affect a company’s ability to use them.

A State Trademark Search

These searches will review the trademark database for each of the 50 states. While a state trademark is not federally registered, it can still carry rights to a trademark that could be enforced.

A Federal Trademark Search

A federal trademark search, also known as a USPTO database search, reviews trademarks that already exist across the country. It also considers foreign language equivalents, pronunciation, and spelling mistakes. 

What Happens If You Do Not Perform a Trademark Availability Search 

Although performing a search of available trademarks is not required legally, not performing the search can be incredibly risky. In truth, failing to perform this search could mean a company starts using a name or a brand or attempts to register its trademark and learns that it conflicts with another entity that has already submitted an application with the USPTO. Additionally, if a company has already trademarked its name or branding, a company wanting to use the mark may have to change theirs to obtain trademark approval. This can be a significant setback for those entities that have already invested considerable money, time, and energy into branding, packaging, and advertisements. 

The Benefits of Performing a Comprehensive Search

While a comprehensive search is a more significant investment, the benefits of these searches are undeniable. A comprehensive search can provide companies with information and clarity to help them move ahead with their company’s name, logo, and branding, which can ultimately help the company flourish.

Contact TM Law Today To Learn More About Trademark Searches

To learn more about the different trademark searches and what they can mean for your brand or company, contact TM Law today.