How to Conduct a US Trademark Search?

Before deciding that you want a federal trademark, you should conduct a US Trademark search. The USPTO is the entity that grants federal trademarks.

Your brand might have a unique word/phrase for the product or service and needs a trademark. However, you need to be certain that your word/phrase doesn’t overlap with a pre-existing trademark. Hence, it is vital for you to carry out a US trademark search before filing one of your own.

This article covers all the important points and the correct procedure you need to remember to conduct a US trademark search.

Related Article: Why Trademark watching is Important?

Basics of Conducting a US Trademark Search

Before we dive into the actual search process, let’s first understand the basics. You must keep these points in mind while carrying out a trademark search.

1.     Elucidate the product or service that you want the mark for

This step is simple enough, yet very important. You must ensure that you are clearly describing everything about the good or service to eliminate any confusion.

2.     Identification of specific terms for your product or service

You must identify particular terms that you can associate with your item. To ensure which terms are usable, check out the listing of Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual. You need to locate terms that describe your item. For example, “leather jacket” is an acceptable term for jackets made out of leather.

Step 1: Type out your specific terms in the search bar

Search bar of Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual Search page
Fig. 1(a) Search bar of Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual Search page

Step 2: Check results

Fig. 1(b) Search results on Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual Search page

3.     Determine the International class

The online manual will also list the appropriate International Class for your item. Providing the class for your item is not a necessity for your trademark application. However, knowing your international class can aid in focusing your search. Click here to know more about International classes.

4.     Identify related goods or services, and their classes

You must also identify and scan the terms for the goods and/or services that relate to your product in terms of usage, advertisement or sales. For example, leather jacket usage and sale happen with T-shirts and Jeans in the Acceptable Identification of Goods & Services Manual. You must also scan the goods or services that relate to your product in the International Classification of Goods and Services. The purpose is to determine their class as well.

5.     Develop a basic search strategy

Try and think of other alternatives for your trademark if your first preference is unavailable. Play around with the keyword while coming up with an alternative if your mark includes a phrase. Also, use truncation devices (*) or wildcards (?) to look for marks with word stems similar to yours.

6.     Widen your search strategy horizon 

You should also search for alternative spellings, homonyms, synonyms to your trademark. Also, search for words that have similar sounds or appearances or even phonetic equivalents. You can also narrow your strategy later. This can be done by limiting your search results with the goods/services you found in Step 2 or the International Class you found in Step 3.

7.     Conduct the actual search

 Now comes the real part, the US trademark search on TESS-the USPTO’s web-based Trademark Electronic Search System. You can do this yourself if you have internet access. You can also go to your local Patent and Trademark Resource Center. Follow the screenshots for a more clear idea.

Step 1: Move the cursor on “Trademarks” on the USPTO Website homepage. Select “Searching Trademarks” from the dropdown menu.

Fig. 2(a) Trademark Search on the USPTO Website  

Step 2: From the new page, select “Trademark Electronic Search System (or TESS)”

Fig. 2(b) Trademark Search on the USPTO Website

Related Article: The 5 Key Trademark Benefits

Need a professional Searcher? – TMReady

You invest a lot in building your brand. Apart from the money, the hours of efforts in promotions, recognition and making it synonymous with what your business stands for. Before you make this effort, you need to be sure about heading in the right direction. That is conducting a US trademark search. Despite keeping these points in mind, you may feel that you need professional assistance. TMReady offers the widest and most flexible search coverage. To ensure this, we carry out all our searches manually, and not via computers. We also want to ensure that our prices are affordable without compromise on quality. Your satisfaction is our guarantee.

To make an inquiry, contact us on TMReady.

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