When it comes to protecting your brand, conducting a comprehensive trademark search is an essential step. A trademark search allows you to determine whether a particular mark is available for use and registration, as well as to identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks. With the rise of the internet, conducting a trademark search has become easier than ever, with a plethora of online resources available for this purpose. In this blog post, we will provide a guide to the most popular trademark search tools available online.
A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase used to identify a product or service and distinguish it from other products or services. Trademarks play a vital role in branding, as they help consumers identify products or services associated with a particular company or individual. Trademarks can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to provide legal protection against infringement.
Conducting a comprehensive trademark search is crucial before using or registering a trademark to avoid infringing on existing trademarks. A trademark search involves checking existing trademarks in various databases to determine whether there are any similar marks that may create confusion or conflict. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the most popular trademark search tools available online.
II. USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
The USPTO is the agency responsible for granting trademark registrations in the United States. The USPTO maintains a public database of registered and pending trademarks, known as the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). TESS is a free online database that allows users to search for registered and pending trademarks by keyword, class, owner name, registration number, and more.
To conduct a trademark search using TESS, follow these steps:
- Go to the TESS homepage (https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database).
- Click on “Basic Word Mark Search (New User)” or “Advanced Search” depending on the type of search you want to conduct.
- Enter the keyword or keywords you want to search for.
- Select the search option you want to use (e.g., all fields, owner name, registration number).
- Click on “Submit Query” to see the search results.
TESS is a powerful tool that can help you identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks. However, keep in mind that TESS does not cover common law trademarks, which are trademarks that are not registered with the USPTO but are still protected by law. Therefore, it’s important to conduct additional searches outside of TESS.
III. Domain Name Search Tools
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for businesses. Therefore, it’s essential to conduct a domain name search to determine whether a particular domain name is available for use. Additionally, domain name searches can help identify potential trademark infringement issues.
There are several online tools available for conducting a domain name search, such as WHOIS and DomainTools. WHOIS is a database that contains information about domain name registrations, including the name and contact information of the domain name owner. DomainTools is a website that provides domain name research, monitoring, and management services.
To conduct a domain name search using WHOIS or DomainTools, follow these steps:
- Go to the WHOIS or DomainTools website.
- Enter the domain name you want to search for.
- Click on “Search” to see the search results.
Domain name searches can help identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks. For example, if a domain name is already registered to a company with a similar name or offering similar products or services, this could indicate potential trademark infringement issues.
IV. Social Media Search Tools
Social media platforms are another important aspect of branding and marketing for businesses.
Conducting a social media search can help identify potential trademark infringement issues and brand name availability on various social media platforms.
There are several social media search tools available for this purpose, such as Knowem and Namechk. Knowem is a website that allows users to check the availability of brand names and usernames across various social media platforms, while Namechk provides a similar service, allowing users to search for available usernames and domains across hundreds of social media sites.
To conduct a social media search using Knowem or Namechk, follow these steps:
- Go to the Knowem or Namechk website.
- Enter the brand name or username you want to search for.
- Click on “Search” to see the search results.
Social media searches can help you determine whether a particular brand name or username is available for use on various social media platforms. Additionally, social media searches can help identify potential trademark infringement issues on social media platforms.
V. Google Search
While not specifically designed for trademark searches, Google is an essential tool for conducting comprehensive trademark searches. A Google search can help identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks and provide additional information about a particular brand.
To conduct a trademark search using Google, follow these steps:
- Go to Google’s homepage (https://www.google.com/).
- Enter the brand name or keyword you want to search for.
- Review the search results to identify potential conflicts with existing trademarks or to gather additional information about the brand.
Conducting a comprehensive trademark search is essential for protecting your brand and avoiding potential trademark infringement issues. There are numerous online resources available for conducting trademark searches, including the USPTO’s TESS database, domain name search tools, social media search tools, and Google.
It’s important to conduct a thorough trademark search using multiple tools to ensure that your brand is protected and that there are no potential conflicts with existing trademarks. By using these online resources, you can identify potential trademark infringement issues and make informed decisions about your brand and trademark registration.